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A General Overview of the Technology of In-Stream Mining of Sand and Gravel Resources, Associated Potential Environmental Impacts, and Methods to Control Potential Impacts

By William H. Langer

U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-153

Version 1.0

Sand and gravel is a widely used construction material that occurs in a variety of natural settings including river and stream terraces, floodplains, and channels. In some parts of the country in-stream sand and gravel is the only locally available option for aggregate resources. On one hand it is possible to excavate sand and gravel from sources located in or near river or stream channels within acceptable environmental limits. On the other hand development of sand and gravel from sources located in or near river or stream channels may create far reaching environmental impacts if proper safeguards and practices are not followed.

This paper begins with an overview of the sand and gravel industry in general. It then describes in-stream mining of sand and gravel including extraction, processing, and reclamation. It follows with a generalized description of stream dynamics. It concludes with a discussion, by way of selected examples, of the broad range of potential impacts and describes some techniques that have been successfully used to prevent or limit those impacts.

OFR-02-153 PDF File (3.42 MB)
OFR-02-153 PDF File (186 KB)(This version of the report is accessible as defined in Section 508.) logo