Planning for Subsidence at Rend Lake, Illinois

Powell, Larry
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
Rend Lake is an Army Corps of Engineers reservoir located in Franklin and Jefferson Counties in south-central Illinois. The lake consists of 20,000 acres of water and 19,000 acres of public access land. The site attracts over two million visitors a year and is surrounded by campgrounds and other recreational facilities. The lake overlies the largest tonnage of low sulfur coal in the state. Coal is being removed beneath the lake from five mines operated by three coal companies. Currently high extraction mining operations are approaching low-lying, environmentally sensitive, and high-use recreational areas. Advanced planning to maximize coal extraction and minimize potential effects of subsidence requires the development of procedures to assess the impact of high-extraction mining on the land use of the area. The Bureau of Mines, the Corps of Engineers, and the coal companies have initiated research to assess the following proposed planning steps to ensure the maximum recovery of the coal resources while minimizing impacts to surface land use: 1) Establish a dialogue between the surface and mineral owners; 2) develop a geographic information system to aid in assessing existing land use and potential changes; 3) assess the potential effects of subsidence on drainage, wildlife habitats, and changes in land use prior to mining; 4) coordinate the mining displacements with surface activities to minimize disruption; and 5) develop appropriate mitigation plans before mining occurs.
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