First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer L. Morse

Date of Award

Spring 6-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Environmental Science and University Honors


Environmental Science and Management




Historical Mining, Pollution, Heavy Metals, Abandoned Mine Lands, Ecological Recovery


I conducted a literature review to examine the key aspects of restoring watersheds affected by pollution from historical mining. This review is then applied to a case study discussion of the Red Boy Mine and Clear Creek remediation project in Granite, Oregon. The goal of this discussion is to explore how an analysis of site conditions along with current literature on management practices can help guide these projects. Thousands of abandoned hard rock mines remain throughout the country, and many pose serious environmental health effects. Heavy metals like cadmium, nickel, and copper are brought to the surface from mining activity, where they are left in tailing piles and are able to mobilize into the environment. Mining practices like mercury amalgamation can further introduce long-term pollutants to the site. Remediation can be achieved through studying the site's history, conducting sampling to gauge the amount of pollutants present, and implementing adaptive management strategies and technologies to control the pollutants. The Red Boy Mine and Clear Creek remediation project exemplifies the complexities that go into these projects and how cleanup of these sites is never a linear process. By studying a site's history and examining current literature on remediation strategies, managers can determine what components to consider to create an effective adaptive management plan for their site.