Pinenut Mine Life Cycle
For this study, the Pinenut mine represents conditions during active mining.
Vegetation surveys were conducted around four breccia pipe uranium deposits, which were in various stages of mine development, and at one non-mineralized reference area. Vegetation surrounding mines is one potential vector for wildlife and livestock exposure to radionuclides and inorganic constituents, via ingestion of potentially contaminated plant tissues.
It is unclear whether mining in the Grand Canyon watershed elevates concentrations of toxic elements in plant tissues or changes the plant community composition, especially downwind from the operational area. These data will be useful when characterizing chemical uptake in vegetation and for future exposure pathway studies at breccia pipe mine sites.
Questions this study could help answer
Is the plant composition at sites characteristic of regional vegetation patterns, and is variation in species composition within sites attributable to underlying differences in native soil types?
Is there evidence that variation in vegetation composition around the breccia pipe deposits is attributable to mining activity?
Task 7a: Conduct species surveys
Southwest Biological Science Center
Jo Ellen Hinck
Columbia Environmental Research Center
|Bureau of Land Management (BLM)|