According to the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) Regulations-“Reclamation” means those actions taken to restore mined land as required by the regulatory authority.
According to the Division of Mineral Resources Management (DMRM) Regulations-“Reclamation” means backfilling, grading, resoiling, planting, and other work that has the effect of restoring an area of land affected by coal mining so that it may be used for forest growth, grazing, agricultural, recreational, and wildlife purpose, or some other useful purpose of equal or greater value than existed prior to any mining."
The coal mining companies in Ohio have always gone above and beyond in their efforts to achieve exceptional reclamation. They have received many awards for that reclamation. The vegetative cover consists of a wide variety of grasses and legumes when the proposed land use is either pasture or grazing land and when the proposed land use consists of trees for forest land, wildlife or undeveloped, the coal mining company plants the trees that will grow the best in the soils where they are being planted.
The companies have always been at the forefront in applying new techniques to their reclamation practices, whether they are creating the endangered Indiana Bat habitat by planting trees to provide flight and feeding corridors or constructing streams according to natural stream channel design techniques, such as, meandering channels, step pools, riffles, etc... Trees and shrubs are planted along those channels that are best suited to the stream type being constructed. These companies either have on staff or hire consultants to provide the engineers, surveyors, geologists, hydrologists, hydrogeologists, biologists, archeologists to do what is necessary to do the permitting, mining and reclamation of the areas being mined.
One of the things that many of the companies are doing is the remining of many of the previously mined and unreclaimed areas from the past. Those companies are providing a great service to the environment by eliminating the problems that were created as a result of past mining practices. Those companies do not feel that they have been given the credit that they should have gotten for the benefit to the environment that the remining has achieved. Those areas are reclaimed with all of the costs being absorbed by the companies so that they can mine some additional coal, while eliminating acid water runoff and the highwalls that were previously left. This is all done while utilizing the same reclamation techniques and requirements that apply to the virgin areas. This is done without using any of the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Funds that are used for projects that are put out to bid. Those are the funds that are created from the severance tax that is paid by the coal companies for the purpose of reclaiming the previously mined sites that were left unreclaimed in the past.