Hope Mine Biochar Project

Erin Rasmussen

Hope Mine was one of the first, and certainly the largest, whole-mine reclamation project using biochar. Hope Mine was formerly a silver mine and it's situated close to Aspen, Colorado.

The USFS took charge of it in 2003, and the grey rock taillings had no vegetation and posed a potential threat to Castle Creek, Aspen's water supply. With this project, there was no evidence of heavy metals leeching, but the the bare rock didn't support vegitation, and could potentially pose a threat to the aquifer.

the results are quoted:

The project proved to be incredibly successful. xx test plots were created to study different levels of biochar,compost, and mycorrhizal fungi mix. The preliminary year-one results showed:

  • Biochar performed better for re-vegetation than compost alone by a 313% increase in the first growing season ending.
  • The plots with biochar held much greater soil moisture than the plots without.
  • An excellent root zone was being developed in areas with both compost and biochar treatments - slope stability and erosion control were achieved in just one year with biochar.
  • The optimized application rate for biochar was around a 10% - 20% blend.

What was a desolate pile of mine waste for 60 years has now been turned into a green hillside in just one year. ACES in partnership with Biochar Solutions, LLC is continuing the monitoring of the test plots.

For the full report see: http://www.aspennature.org/restore/forest-ecosystem-health/hope-mine-bio...
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