The OSMRE Western Region worked with the State of Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining to monitor reclamation efforts at Cottonwood-Wilberg Mine in Emery County, Utah, using remote sensing change detection of historical photography and land use records. OSMRE purchased high-resolution lidar and orthophotography from Juniper Unmanned of the site before major earthwork commenced in September 2017. OSMRE used Digital Globe, the European Space Agency Sentinels, and Planet Labs satellite imaging to monitor the in-progress reclamation work. The State inspectors shared monthly photographs of the site with OSMRE to verify observations made with remote sensing images. Upon completion of the reclamation work, OSMRE and Utah State personnel collected terrestrial lidar and photography in May 2018. In June 2018, the Trail Mountain Fire started and burned more than 17,000 acres north of the site. OSMRE is continuing to monitor the reclamation area for possible flooding impacts using synthetic aperture radar and high temporal resolution imaging. Having historical imagery from 1936 forward helped understand the dynamics of the natural landscape and provides context for ongoing monitoring.
Reclamation of the Cottonwood-Wilberg Mine, Utah. Left (A): A1 - Oblique photo of drainage before restoration, A2 – Oblique photo of drainage after reclamation earthwork completed. Top right (B): B1 and B2 - Orthophoto and lidar-derived digital elevation model (respectively) collected using an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) in September 2017, before restoration commenced. Bottom right (C): C1 – Historical orthophoto collected on September 9, 1938 ,showing pre-mining reference condition, C2 – Historical National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP) orthophoto collected September 6, 2011, showing the mining operation, and C3 – Recent satellite orthoimagery collected on June 23, 2018, showing post-reclamation condition.