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Environmental Sustainability Award: Coal



2019 AWARD RECIPIENT


ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP AWARD: COAL

 

Trapper Mining, Inc., Trapper Mine

Wildlife Habitat Restoration, Enhancement or Preservation Program | Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse Research

 

About the Project:

Trapper monitors and catalogs Sharp-tailed Grouse leks on the mine site. Multiple leks on the site continue to flourish and provide a growing population of Grouse. To ensure the continued success of this species, Trapper proactively participated in a three-year research program with the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the University of Wisconsin that ran from 2015 through 2017. This project followed up on previous scholarly research conducted during the 2000’s on Trapper reclaimed lands. The project concluded this year with the final analysis and review of the research done on the site. The lead on the project, Rachel Harris (Barker), a student at the University of Wisconsin, completed her master’s degree and thesis on this project in May 2019. Trapper is proud to have participated in such an ambitious project and help Rachel and many others with this valuable research and project. In this research program, Trapper reclaimed lands were used as the control for what researchers judged habitat improvements and CSTG population responses on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and other private lands against. In other words, Trapper lands were considered the standard for habitat improvement programs in the region. As part of the research, Trapper allowed the researchers to occupy Trapper reclaimed lands to trap adult female grouse on leks (strutting grounds), fit them with radio transmitters and follow them and their chicks through important life cycle stages. As monitoring revealed a successful brood hatch, four randomly selected day-old chicks were fitted with tiny transmitters and followed until three weeks of age. They were then refitted with a larger transmitter and followed through additional life cycle changes. Vegetation sampling was also conducted on nest, brood and control sites. It is hoped that the research results from this study will guide future habitat improvements to increase numbers and distribution of Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse in the Yampa Valley and beyond.

 

Annual Water Savings (Gallons): 2,000,000

 

Trapper utilizes Magnesium Chloride for haul road dust suppression. This reduces the amount of water required to adequately mitigate dust emissions on the roads. The primary source of dust suppression water has been sourced from coal seam dewatering, and surface runoff captured in an inactive pit.

Trapper utilizes over 50 million gallons of water per year from this inactive pit. It continues to significantly reduce our water consumption from other sources on the site. Trapper also uses recycled wash water in the new wash bay. This system collects wash and drain water from all shop facilities and the existing wash bay for reuse. The system has saved an average of 200,000 gallons of potable water per month since it was put in service. This is a considerable savings of water from our potable water well. The primary water source now, for washing equipment, is recycled water.

 

Energy and Conservation Practices:

Trapper continues to seek new ways to upgrade its aging infrastructure when possible. In the past several years the original windows in the main office building were replaced with more efficient Low-E glass windows. Replacement rooftop air-conditioning units and programmable thermostats have also improved climate control in the building and reduce energy consumption. Trapper has taken many opportunities to upgrade lighting around the site and in buildings when possible. Aging fluorescent strip lighting has been replaced with LED fixtures in many locations. Mercury vapor and high-pressure sodium exterior lighting has also been replaced with LED or Metal halide fixtures when and where possible. These upgraded fixtures are more energy efficient and provide better lighting on the site.

 

Annual Waste—Source Reduction:

This is an on-going process at Trapper. Trapper continues to evaluate packaging and storage alternatives for products on the site. Trapper utilizes bulk storage of products when possible to reduce packaging and transport impacts.

 

Annual Waste—Landfill Diversion:

Trapper utilizes used engine oil as the petroleum component of the blasting agent mix on the site. We can nearly totally consume all used engine oil on the site in this process. Recycled 500 pounds computer equipment, >250,000 pounds of miscellaneous scrap metals.

 

Annual amount recycled (pounds): 250,000

 

Wildlife Habitat Restoration, Enhancement or Preservation:

Trapper monitors and catalogs Sharp-tailed Grouse leks on the mine site. Multiple leks on the site continue to flourish and provide a growing population of Grouse. Trapper has worked closely with Colorado Parks and Wildlife personnel over the past several years on Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse projects. These projects include habitat utilization, brood survival and population transplants to other parts of the state. A recent project concluded this year with the final analysis and review of the research done on the site during 2013 to 2017. Trapper provided baseline study areas to find ways to improve Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands to improve brood and juvenile grouse survival rates. The sites population and habitat were used extensively in this research project. Trapper conducts a cattle grazing program on Phase III bond released lands. Specific goals of the program include stimulating and enhancing areas of stagnant reclamation through the use of grazing. Specific timing and use periods are followed with the cooperation of the CPW and ranchers to protect and enhance Sharp-tailed Grouse habitat. The grazing program continues to succeed on reclaimed lands. Observations of the grazing areas show good utilization of forage and the robust vegetative diversity on reclaimed lands seems to receive minimal negative impacts on the plant community.

 

Environmental Sustainability Education Program for the Public:

Trapper has always hosted numerous tour groups to the mine site. Demonstrating proper environmental stewardship and responsible mining practices has always been the priority of our presentations to tour groups. Many varied groups have visited the site. From local school children to foreign diplomats the site has welcomed them to see and learn about modern surface coal mining.

 

Additional Information:

Trapper conducts extensive vegetation monitoring each summer to ensure that habitat restoration meets and usually exceeds minimum regulatory requirements. Phase III Bond release inspections conducted by the Office of Surface Mining and the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety continually show that our reclaimed lands exceed expectations. To date, 3,691 acres of Trapper reclamation have achieved Phase III Bond release. This is nearly half of all life of mine disturbance at the site and 78% of all lands reclaimed.

 

Sustainability Goal(s) for 2020:

Trapper intends to manage water use on the site in its old wash bay and use recycled water in this facility rather than fresh water. Waste reduction and litter management will also continue to be a priority as well as energy use and production improvements.

 

   

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