Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) Compliance


The Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA) was enacted in 1975 by the California Legislature to address the State’s need for a continuous supply of mineral resources and to prevent or minimize the negative impacts of surface mining on public health, property, and the environment.  The Department of Conservation’s Office of Mine Reclamation (OMR) and the State Mining and Geology Board (SMGB) are jointly charged with administering and enforcing the Act’s requirements.

SMARA applies to projects removing more than 1,000 cubic yards of material or disturbing more than one acre of the ground surface.  This includes prospecting and exploratory activities, dredging, and quarrying, streambed skimming, borrow pitting for road or levee construction, and the stockpiling of mined materials.  If a project meets these criteria, a surface mining permit, reclamation plan, and financial assurance mechanism must be approved by the applicable county planning department with concurrence from OMR before mining may begin.

LACO provides a variety of environmental analysis, permitting, and regulatory compliance services to mining operations throughout the North Coast.  LACO engineering, environmental science, and geotechnical staff work together to fulfill SMARA obligations and are experts in many aspects of mining permitting and land reclamation, including: 

Site Investigations

Development assessments, hydrologic evaluations, feasibility studies, and geologist’s reports including mineral remoteness determinations

Biological Assessments

Wetland and stream delineations, arborist surveys, sensitive habitat and vegetation mapping, endangered species surveys, aquatic habitat baseline assessments, etc.

Regulatory Compliance Support

Agency permitting, CEQA/NEPA compliance, and annual reporting

Mitigation Planning and Monitoring

Reclamation plans, stormwater management, and annual inspections

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