• The Mound and Valley Water Harvesting System: A Potential Mine Reclamation Alternative

      Constant, Charles L.; Thames, John; School of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1980-04-12)
      A mound and valley water harvesting system was installed adjacent to Peabody Coal Company's Kayenta mine on Black Mesa in the spring of 1979. The project is testing the effects of four water catchment treatments (natural, seeded, compacted, and salted and compacted) on the establishment and production of four plant species (yellow clover, crested wheatgrass, four-wing saltbush, and western wheatgrass). The site consists of three parallel mounds or catchment areas (with 13 to 16% slope) alternating with two topsoiled (10 to 12 inches deep) collection valleys (800 feet long and 120 feet apart). This past growing season was dry (3.35 inches). Despite the drought, plants did establish and survive. The plant density was not high, but it greatly exceeded that of Peabody's reclaimed and planted areas. Even in places where some plants germinated early in the season, the subsequent dry period took an extremely high toll. At present the vegetation on the site is undergoing severe stress, but with decreasing temperatures it appears likely that survival will remain satisfactory until freezing weather. By using this technique the average cost per acre reclaimed could be reduced significantly.