Colorado's Mine Impacted Streams Task Force

Presented by Skip Feeney

By most recent accounts, there are over 23,000 abandoned hard rock mines across the state and 1,800 miles of streams impaired due to abandoned mine related pollutants. The Mine Impacted Stream Task Force was formed in September 2015 to determine the extent and magnitude of the water quality impacts due to abandoned mines and drive water quality improvements from abandoned mine pollution control projects. Mine Impacted Streams Task Force members include: Colorado Water Quality Control Division, Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety and Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division.

 The task force focused on two abandoned mine related initiatives:

1) Abandoned Mine Information Hub:
The taskforce identified that determining the extent of the abandoned mine problem in Colorado would be greatly enhanced through a comprehensive list/map of known abandoned mine features in Colorado. The Colorado Water Quality Control Division contracted with the Colorado Geologic Survey to take on this important task. The Survey brought together organizations who track Colorado abandoned mine information, addressed data sharing concerns and wrangled data from more than a dozen data sources to develop the Colorado Abandon Mines Lands Information Hub. Contributing organizations are below:

    State Agencies: 
      Colorado Geological Survey
      Colorado Dept. of Public Health and the Environment
       Colorado Dept. of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
       Colorado Div. of Reclamation, Mines, and Safety
       Colorado Office of Archeology and Historical Preservation
       Colorado State Land Board

    Federal Agencies:
      US Forest Service
       US Dept. of Energy
       US Environmental Protection Agency
       US National Park Service
       US Bureau of Land Management
       US Fish and Wildlife Service

 The Abandon Mines Lands Information Hub is an interactive could-based map viewer with more than 50,000 records. The map is available to the public through the link below:

2) Abandoned Mines Water Quality Study:
In an effort to provide the most up to date and comprehensive data regarding draining mines throughout the state, the Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety (DRMS) and Colorado Water Quality Control Division partnered to survey and collect water quality samples from 145 abandoned mines in 2016. This study was championed by Governor Hickenlooper in the 2016 State of the State address.

Summary information and access to the data are available below:
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Skip Feeney

Water Quality Scientist

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Skip Feeney holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Health. He has worked in the water quality industry for 15 years. This includes private sector work in regulatory, program and data management consulting for municipal agencies and public sector work with the Colorado Water Quality Control Division as a water quality scientist.