The Powder River Basin (PRB) mine, the third-largest coal operation by production in the U.S. in 2014, earned the recognition this year for its successful restoration of the Belle Fourche River.
Through design and reconstruction, a portion of the river was relocated and the stream channel reclaimed in order to provide the same approximate conditions as those before mining began.
The reclaimed stream channel is now stable from erosion and features abundant grass cover; aquatic life has also been restored, including fish and macro invertebrates.
“This is a clear indication of the successful restoration of a stream to its original channel and its overall ecological health,” CPE officials said, and company President and CEO Colin Marshall called the efforts made “exceptional.”
“Cloud Peak Energy has a strong record of using innovative approaches to successfully reclaim the land after mining is complete,” he added. “That the federal government has recognized our mines with its highest honor in four of the last six years is a tremendous accomplishment.”
The award will be presented at the National Mining Association’s (NMA) awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on November 9.
CPE previously earned the honor in 2009 (Spring Creek mine), 2010 (Antelope) and 2014 (Antelope); it also received the OSMRE Good Neighbor Award in 2012 for its efforts to support communities around their three mine operations.