Erosion Prediction Models and Factors Affecting the Application of the Universal Soil Loss Equation to Post-Mining Landscapes in Central Queensland

Aspinall T O, ; Bell L C,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
Increased awareness and stricter enforcement of regulatory requirements for adequate rehabilitation of surface mining sites has made environmental planning an essential part of strip mine planning. Rehabilitation is site specific and should be based on data which relate to that site. Cost-effective spoil pile design to minimise erosion is an important part of rehabilitation. Spoil pile design is an integral part of strip mine design. QCT Resources Limited has provided a postgraduate scholarship toward research in this area. The controlling factors of spoil pile design are post-mining land use, drainage requirements and degree and rate of erosion. The extent to which mine design is controlled by these factors is determined by regulatory requirements. To plan acceptable rehabilitation programs, erosion processes must be accurately modelled, and a range of erosion prediction models are available. Useful prediction models can be placed in two categories with the first category containing soil loss prediction models which can be used to predict the amount of soil lost from an area over a short or long term basis. Models in this category include the Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE), Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP), Griffith University Erosion and Sedimentation System (GUESS) and Chemical, Runoff and Erosion from Agricultural Management Systems (CREAMS). The second category contains topographic evolution models which give an indication of the long term morphological development of a formed surface subjected to erosion processes. Models in this category include "Topog", Willgoose's Physically Based Catchment Evolution Model and Areal Nonpoint Source Watershed Environment Response Simulation (ANSWERS). The USLE has been used in the agricultural field for soil loss prediction. To apply the equation to mine sites in Central Queensland, it is necessary to understand the factors affecting erosion at the sites. This understanding should allow the variables of the equation to be quantified. The rainfall factor applied in the USLE is independent of engineering design or soil management techniques. The factor of spoil erodibility is dependent on the material's physical and chemical properties and can vary from site to site. In the equation, the topographic factor, cover and management factor and conservation practices factor can be varied by design to reduce erosion on rehabilitated areas.
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