VOLUNTARY RECLAMATION PROGRAM
The rules in this division apply to mined land reclamation except for activities related to chemical process mining regulated under OAR Chapter 632, Division 037.
As used in OAR 632-032-0005 to 632-032-0060, unless the context indicates otherwise:
(1) "Board" means the Governing Board of the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.
(2) "Concurrent native reclamation" means reclamation of disturbed land that occurs during mining and uses native species.
(3) "Department" means the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.
(4) "Financial security" means the performance bond or alternative form of financial security required under ORS 517.810.
(5) "Exempt site" means mined areas exempt from the reclamation requirement of the act.
(6) "Orphaned site" means an exempt site where no mining has taken place since the enactment of the Mined Land Reclamation Act of 1972.
Qualifying Reclamation Practices
A reclamation practice may be considered for an incentive under OAR 632-038-0050 if it meets one or more of the following criteria:
(1) Concurrent or final reclamation that enhances habitat for threatened or endangered species or species of special concern. The establishment of vegetation or habitat shall be identified by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife or the Oregon Department of Agriculture as beneficial to the species. The vegetation or habitat must meet cover and production targets for the reclamation to qualify.
(2) Visual screening that provides sound and dust attenuation, uses concurrent native reclamation, blends in with the surrounding area and is approved by the department.
(3) Establishment of an on-site or local seed collection, transplant, and/or cutting plan for native vegetation. The plan should include maps and text identifying where and how plant materials shall be collected and a schedule identifying dates for implementing the plan.
(4) Post-mining contour maps at a scale approved by the department and committed to by the operator that show detailed final reclamation contours and include complex slope configurations and a backfilling and compaction plan (if applicable) designed to reduce erosion, enhance revegetation success and blend in with the surrounding area.
(5) Any site that receives Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife district biologist sign-off that the reclamation plan will provide significant enhanced habitat for anadromous fish, or state or federally listed threatened or endangered species.
(6) Any site that receives Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife district biologist or habitat conservation division sign-off that the reclamation plan will substantially improve habitat over the pre-mine condition for avian or terrestrial wildlife or watershed health.
(7) Any site that receives Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife or Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation sign-off that the reclamation plan will substantially improve recreational opportuntities for the public. The opportunities include but are not limited to educational study areas, interpretive centers, hunting and fishing opportunities, or campgrounds in urban, suburban and rural areas.
(8) Any site operating within areas designated as prime farmlands by the Oregon Department of Agriculture that provides for no net loss of prime farmlands.
(9) Reclamation of orphaned sites that meet or exceed current program standards.
(10) Establishment of test plots or similar research oriented projects accepted by the department that are designed to demonstrate effective reclamation techniques that have broad industry utility and likely will lead to higher quality reclamation.
(11) Creation of, or participation in, a voluntary program that enhances fish or wildlife habitat at a site unaffected by mining.
(12) Creation of, or participation in, a voluntary program that provides educational opportunities to primary or secondary school students.
(13) Innovative planning or reclamation coordinated with and endorsed by the local land use planning agency that significantly enhances the site.
(14) Voluntary reclamation of abandoned sites or exempt sites.
(15) Voluntary establishment or maintenance of a stream side riparian vegetation buffer which is wider than required and enhances fish and wildlife habitat or watershed health.
Any person seeking incentives shall apply in writing on a form prescribed by the department.
The department, at its discretion, may provide one or more of the following incentives for qualifying reclamation practices.
(1) Release to the press and published notice in Oregon Geology of the qualifying practice and responsible persons.
(2) Nomination for Outstanding Reclamation, Outstanding Operator, or Good Neighbor awards.
(3) Reduction of up to 50 percent in the amount of the financial security required for an operating permit:
(a) A reduction in the amount of financial security may be provided only after the applicant has successfully completed a significant portion of qualifying practice;
(b) The reduction shall be for a term not to exceed five years;
(c) This incentive may be revoked at any time if the department has reasonable cause to believe that the operator has failed to comply with its operating permit or reclamation plan or is financially unstable.
(4) Distribute outstanding operator list to counties.
(5) Grant awards as provided by OAR 632-038-0070.
To the extent that funds are available from sources identified in ORS 516.090(2) or voluntary settlements of enforcement actions and there is a legislative approval of expenditures, the board may award grants for qualifying reclamation practices.
Coordination With Private Incentive Programs
The department may cooperate with private foundations, industry associations, or other entities with respect to the establishment and administration of awards or incentive programs that promote mined land reclamation in a manner that is consistent with the objectives of ORS 517.760, 517.840(1) and this division.