White Oak Reclamation Project

Project Manager Environmental Scientist Priscilla Burton

Photos: (left) White Oak 2007 (right) White Oak 2011
Photos: (left) White Oak 2007 (right) White Oak 2011
Photos courtesy: Gregg Galecki, Skyline Mine

The White Oak Mine, also know as the Belina Mine, was an underground coal mine established prior to the 1975 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) requiring a reclamation bond prior to operation. The surface was privately owned and the coal was owned by the United States.  

This project was very successful due to the partnerships with Utah Division of Water Quality, Spanish Fork Public Works and Price River Water Improvement District, Skyline CWMA, Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, Skyline Mine, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Snow College, Carbon County Road Department and the Utah Geological Survey and the Office of Surface Mining.


1984 – 2001 Mine permit was held by several operators Valley Camp of Utah, White Oak Mining & Construction and finally Lodestar Energy.

2001 60.9- acres of surfacing mining was permitted.

2001 Lodestar’s bonding company, Frontier Insurance Company went into “rehabilitation.”

2003 Lodestar went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

2004 Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (OGM) recovered General Settlement Funds for reclamation.

2004-2005 Loadout and surface mine facilities were reclaimed.

2007 – 2008 Sediment loading, poor vegetation growth, severe erosion and sink holes were noted in Eccles Creek.

2009 Obtained Stream Alteration Permit from the Utah Division of Water Rights and received authorization from the Utah Division of Water Quality (DWQ) to apply bio-solids to the reclaimed area.  Received a Utah Non-point Source Grant from DWQ for bio solids use on the project.

2010 – 2011 Constructed terraces, applied bio solids from the Spanish Fork Wastewater Reclamation and Price River Water Treatment facilities; seeded with native species and Triticale as a sterile cover crop; applied straw and wood straw mulch.  Constructed drop structures and riprap ladders in steep sections of Whiskey Creek.  Work was completed by Innovative Excavation, Inc.

2013 Worked with the Skyline Cooperative Weed Management Area (CWMA) to coordinate weed control in a six square mile area adjacent to the White Oak Mine for three years.

2014 Landowner requested the mile-long mine access road be reclaimed.  Carbon County Road Department accepted the re-milled asphalt and hauled it away for reuse in the Scofield area.  Work was completed by Feller Enterprises.  Received Utah Department of Agriculture and Food grant to support a three-year weed control and mapping effort.  Grant employed Snow College students to map area invasive species. 

2015 Utah Geologic Survey staff surveyed elevations in Eccles Creek to help obtain a stream alteration permit. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) and OGM staff collected willow cuttings, sedge and rush plugs from Eccles Creek to replant in the reconstructed channel.  Nelco Contractors, Inc. removed 7,600 cubic yards (cy) of fill from Eccles Creek and reconstructed the Eccles Creek channel to allow fish passage.  Funded by an Office of Surface Mining Civil Penalties Grant and a contribution from the DWR SE Utah Regional Aquatic Program.  Skyline Mine also contributed by hauling fill away.

2016 Obtained stream alteration permit for Whiskey Creek to repair erosion caused by sediment from the mine facilities at the head of the watershed.  Work was completed by Nelco Contractors, Inc. with a grant from the Utah Watershed Restoration Initiative (WRI).