Science for Decision Making on Uranium Mining in Arizona

Migratory Bird Surveys

At Arizona 1 Mine

Water resources are scarce in the Grand Canyon region. The containment ponds at the mines provide a reliable water source to biota in the area. Biological information in and around the mine sites is limited; therefore, surveys to document species presence and usage of the area provide critical information for addressing environmental effects of uranium mining.


Conduct surveys twice a month to document resident and migrant bird species in and around the mine.

Surveys were conducted adjacent to the mine (outside the fenced areas) at

  • Arizona 1 and Pinenut Mines from March - October 2015.
  • Pinyon Plain (formerly Canyon) Mine in 2014.


  • Water was present in the ponds during all surveys, and presence of emergent aquatic vegetation at all mine sites suggested that the ponds were a consistent water source (likely due to the pond linings).
  • We observed 107 bird species at three uranium mine sites during 41 surveys conducted in 2014 and 2015. Bird species were assigned to one of four resident status categories: winter residents, migrants (i.e., not breeding residents), summer breeding residents, or year-round residents.
  • We observed 35 species of birds (aquatic and non-aquatic species) directly using the mine containment ponds including species of conservation concern, Pinyon Jay, Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus, and Brewer’s Sparrow Spizella breweri.
  • We observed pond use by 3 bird species at Arizona 1 Mine, 26 species at Canyon Mine, and 9 species at Pinenut Mine. Our surveys identified no single species using containment ponds at all three mine sites.
  • Documenting use of these ponds by wildlife allows for a new understanding of possible pathways by which contaminants may enter local food webs.



Specific Tasks

Task 5a: Compile/evaluate existing and newly collected monitoring data from various agencies/sources


1 Albers, J.L., Wildhaber, M.L., Green, N.S., Hinck, J.E., Gatlin, B., and Langston, S., 2021, Breccia pipe uranium mine bird survey data, Grand Canyon region, 2014-2015: U.S. Geological Survey data release

Principal Investigators

Jo Ellen Hinck
Columbia Environmental Research Center


BLM logo Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
NPS logo National Park Service

Photo Gallery

Placing gopher trap

Arizona 1 Mine Gallery

Sites with Related Activities

Pinyon Plain (formerly Canyon) || Pinenut