2-day conference on abandoned gold mines set April 20-21 in Sacramento | TheUnion.com

2-day conference on abandoned gold mines set April 20-21 in Sacramento

Know & Go

Who: The Sierra Fund hosts two-day conference

What: “Reclaiming the Sierra 2015: The New Gold Rush.”

Where: University Union, 6000 J St., California State University, Sacramento

When: Monday and Tuesday, April 20-21

More information or to register: http://reclaimingthesierra.org./

A statewide conference this month will devote two days to the topic of contamination and physical hazards left by abandoned gold mines.

“Reclaiming the Sierra 2015: The New Gold Rush,” will be held April 20-21 at California State University in Sacramento. Many prominent environmental, nonprofit and governmental leaders are expected to attend. For information, see http://reclaimingthesierra.org.

A special feature of the conference will be a talk-show-styled opening event on April 20. The event, dubbed “The Tonight Show: Legacy Mining, California and the World,” will be hosted by Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, CEO of The Sierra Fund, conference sponsor.

The panelists will be: Greg Valerio, an international fair trade and fair mined gold activist from London; Fran Spivy-Weber, a member of the State Water Resources Control Board; and Mark Nechodom, director of the California Department of Conservation.

The “talk show,” which will be preceded by a reception, will run 5:30-8:30 p.m., at the University Union Ballroom III, California State University Sacramento, 6000 J St., Sacramento, CA 95819 (map and directions available at: http://reclaimingthesierra.org/venue/).

Admission is included with conference registration, and is also available as a separate admission to the public. See the conference website to purchase tickets for the event.

The rest of the conference will include four “tracks.”

Those are:

— Prioritization of remediation efforts

­— Best available techniques

— Multiple benefits

— Policy and coordination

“Local land use authorities, such as counties and water districts, are burdened by abandoned mine lands, which hinder smart growth and contaminate local streams and rivers,” said Amber Taxiera, outreach and events manager for The Sierra Fund. “Development of standardized protocols for assessing mine-scarred lands and their discharges will enable local land use authorities to prioritize abandoned mine lands in their jurisdictions.”

In Nevada County, almost a half-dozen abandoned mines issues have made the news in recent months — including Empire Mine, Blue Lead Mine, San Juan Mine and Banner Lava Cap Mine.

In Grass Valley, The Sierra Fund and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently held a workshop to discuss reclaiming abandoned mine land — so-called “brownfields — within city limits.

“Due to the absence of a regulatory mechanism for legacy mine reclamation, approximately 47,000 abandoned mines exist in California today, all of which present potential physical hazards and approximately 10 percent of which present chemical hazards,” Taxiera said. “Thus far, reclamation of legacy mines has only occurred for those with the mostly highly visible impacts on the environment and public health.”

Cost to attend the two-day event ranges from $149 for the conference only to $298 for the conference, meals, evening keynote program and a tour of various sites April 20. To attend the tour only costs $149.

To register, see: http://reclaimingthesierra.org/registration/.

To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email kbrenner@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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