Science and Technology Projects Related to Coal Mining and Reclamation


Proposed 2016 funding is designed for applied science projects only. The Science and Technology Program supports three separate but related efforts: (1) projects that develop and demonstrate improved technologies to address public safety and environmental issues related to the mining of coal and reclamation of the lands affected after mining (applied science projects), (2) projects that encourage efforts to collect, preserve and convert into digital format, maps of underground mines and other relevant geologic and hydrologic data that provide valuable information regarding: miner safety; mine pool evaluation; mine subsidence investigation, and protection of the public and the environment from adverse effects of underground coal mining (underground mine map projects); and, (3) projects that convert into digital form, mine permit data and maps related to evaluating the impacts of coal mining so that the information may be used in a geographic information system (GIS)accessible by Federal, state, and tribal agencies for assessing impacts of coal mining and reclamation on the environment (data conversion projects). The United States Department of the Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) is requesting applied science proposals for projects that develop and demonstrate improved science and technologies related to the mining of coal and the reclamation of the land after mining. There is no guarantee of funding for this solicitation. OSMRE has included a request for funding of Applied Science Projects in its FY 2016 budget. Funding will only become available if it is approved by Congress. Funded projects will help address important OSMRE issues during implementation of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). Applicants may request funding up to $200,000. The award will be by cooperative agreement (or as an Interagency Agreement if another Federal Agency is involved). Each cooperative agreement will be for a period of time consistent with the proposal but not to exceed two years from date of award. Each cooperative agreement grantee may apply for and be granted non-funded extensions of time only as necessary to complete the project. Extensions will only be approved if there are documented delays beyond the control of the Principle Investigator (PI). Included in this document are instructions for preparing the proposal including a list of eligible issues and information on the proposal review process. OSMRE will only accept proposals that address the specific List of Eligible Issues. For this solicitation, there will be six issues that will be considered for funding. Proposals must specifically address one of the identified issues to be considered for funding. If a consensus is reached by the NTTT Applied Science Program Team that a proposal does not clearly address one of these six issues, it will be returned to the sender. Eligible issues for this solicitation are: Comprehensive Ecosystem Restoration Geomorphic Reclamation: The recent development and application of geomorphic reclamation techniques that results in a reclaimed land form that mimics similar naturally stable land forms allows for a more comprehensive approach to restoring the natural ecosystem form and function. A study is needed to quantify the environmental benefits relative to the economic costs that result from the use of geomorphic reclamation techniques to restore the pre-mining ecosystem functions. A study is also needed that would show how current geomorphic reclamation practices may be enhanced to make reclaimed landforms more accommodating to restoration of native species and how reclamation practices may be enhanced with subsurface reclamation techniques to better reestablish the hydrologic balance and prevent water quality degradation. How does the Application of Forestry Reclamation Approach Attenuate Runoff Characteristics in Streams in Appalachia: Streams in Appalachia can be impacted by mining and reclamation. A comprehensive study is needed to determine the extent to which the Forestry Reclamation Approach (FRA) method can improve attenuation of runoff events, reduce peak discharges, and re-establish base flows, water quality, and stream flow characteristics relative to non-FRA reclamation methods. Another area of study is a determination of the short-term impacts to water quality due to the application of FRA where final grading practices include placement of loose weathered spoil from the oxidized zone to promote root growth as compared to the use of reduced spoil materials. Improving Soil Conditions in the Arid Western U.S.: Abandoned mine lands in the arid west can be difficult to establish with native species. Physical characteristics such as soil textures, soil pH, organic matter, and soil chemistry need to be amended to enhance the survival of suitable plant species. Studies are needed to investigate the seeding of temporary cover crops including plants that may de-compact, add organic matter, and otherwise improve soil conditions. The aim is to reduce erosion and water evaporation and improve soil quality and permeability to prepare the soil for the establishment of native plants. Mine Pools and Hydrology Mine Pools: After cessation of underground mining, mine pools often develop in the voids remaining after mining. Discharges from these pools often have water quality issues that degrade streams and groundwater and are expensive to treat. They may also risk public safety if coal barriers or outcrops fail discharging large volumes of water into adjacent mines or onto the land surface. A study is needed to develop improved methods for modeling underground mine pools to predict, prior to mine closure, the potential for the mine pool to degrade surface and underground water resources. Also, a study is needed to better predict post-mining water levels under steady-state conditions including the total volume and location of water discharges from mines. Water Quality Impacts from Mining: Minimizing impacts from mining to surface water and groundwater resources are best accomplished by integrating new and better science applications into permitting and regulatory decisions. Applied science studies in several areas of potential impact to water resources have the potential to allow us to better predict long-term consequences, as well as to greatly advance reclamation science. In order to better predict probable hydrologic consequences due to underground mining, studies are needed on how geologic fault systems and other unforeseen conditions may be impacting groundwater movement and availability. Another area of needed study is the impact of discharges from coal mine sites, both surface and underground, that contain high salinity and/or toxic metals concentrations which may impair stream ecology. A study is needed that would evaluate and characterize the long-term effects that mining and reclamation practices have had on stream resources including chemical, physical, and biological resources. The analysis could include the short- and long-term effect on stream ecology starting when final grading and re-vegetation is completed and ending when a steady-state condition is achieved. Examples of needed studies would incorporate water quality impacts to aquatic biology where excess spoil fills have been constructed using contemporary mining methods specifically designed to reduce the potential for pollution discharges and a similar study of aquatic biology from surface mines without any excess spoil fills. Longwall and high extraction underground mining can generate adverse effects on the biologic and hydrologic functions of overlying streams. A comprehensive study that could advance our ability to predict the impacts on these surface waters is needed. Also, a study is needed to determine the success of current remedial measures and to identify the best technology currently available for mitigation of stream impacts from underground mining. Coal Slurry Impoundments Stability Field Impacts of Coal Slurry Impoundments: In the U. S., over 200 coal waste tailings dams are classified as having high hazard potential by the Federal Emergency Management Agency���s hazard rating system. OSMRE requires comprehensive safety analysis in the design of coal slurry and refuse dams and has currently funded two projects: (1) the geotechnical properties and flow behavior of coal refuse in the laboratory, and (2) the effects of blasting on embankment stability. In addition to these studies, there is a need for a comprehensive in-situ field study on the geotechnical properties and flow behavior of fine coal refuse as it exists in coal refuse dams after placement. In particular, data are needed on the characteristics of the fine refuse, (1) after years of deposition, and (2) after loading resulting from upstream dam construction and final reclamation. Short- and long-term stability under static and impact loading should be evaluated.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Department of the Interior
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Cooperative Agreement
Number of Awards Available
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Application Procedure
The proposal application must be received by November 3, 2015. See attached RFP for additional details.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
This program does not have cost sharing or matching requirements.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Headquarters Office
Debbie Dale, 618-463-6463 ext 5149
Website Address
E-mail Address
Financial Information
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Awards up to $200,000.00


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