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Hydraulic Mine Remediation

Partnering with The Sierra Fund, Symbiotic implements low tech process based restoration in a hydraulic mine setting.

In these environments, the hydraulic mining process has left the surface devoid of the organic top layer of soil, leaving behind a dry, erosive, denuded landscape. Historically, liquid elemental mercury was imported and applied to these sites in the hydraulic mining process  to facilitate recovery  in the gold extraction process. Liquid elemental mercury can still be found in creeks and hydraulic mine landscapes to this day. As the mercury moves off of these highly erosive environments during surface runoff events, it moves into downstream environments of larger streams and reservoirs where it can bioaccumulate up through the food chain and subsequently become a human health issue through the consumption of mercury contaminated fish. 

Low tech process based restoration techniques can help fight erosion and promote conditions for vegetation recovery on these sites, limiting the propagation of mercury contaminated sediments. Stay tuned for updates as we have just begun and have much to learn and share along the way. 

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