Pollution from mining activities is a global environmental concern, not limited to areas of current resource extraction, but including a broader geographic area of historic (legacy) and abandoned mines. The pollution of surface waters from acid mine drainage is a persistent problem and requires a holistic and sustainable approach to addressing the spatial and temporal complexity of mining-specific problems. In this paper, we focus on the environmental, socio-economic, and legal challenges associated with the concurrent activities to remediate a coal mine site and to develop a national memorial following a catastrophic event. We provide a conceptual construct of a socio-ecological system defined at several spatial, temporal, and organizational scales and a critical synthesis of the technical and social learning processes necessary to achieving sustainable environmental remediation. Our case study is an example of a multi-disciplinary management approach, whereby collaborative interaction of stakeholders, the emergence of functional linkages for information exchange, and mediation led to scientifically informed decision making, creative management solutions, and ultimately environmental policy change.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Global and Planetary Change