The National Park Service announced plans to close 22 abandoned mines at Joshua Tree National Park using American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funds. Starting in mid-November, eight mine sites will be closed by park staff to remove public safety hazards. An additional 14 sites will be closed using contractor services.
The mine sites comprise 40 total openings of horizontal adits and vertical shafts. Eleven of the openings will be treated by park staff while the remaining 29 openings will be closed by park contractors. Mines will be closed using techniques developed at Joshua Tree that ensure public safety but protect the mines’ wildlife and historic values. Hazardous chemicals and other unsafe materials will be removed and properly disposed. Special gates will cover mine openings to prevent human access but allow use by bats, desert tortoises, and other native wildlife. Numerous mine locations are located in Congressionally designated wilderness, and mine closure activities at these sites will fully comply with established wilderness management guidelines and practices.
“These improvements will remove hazards at numerous mines located throughout the park’s backcountry. In addition to creating jobs, this project improves the safety of visitors at Joshua Tree National Park and enhances the value of these mines sites for wildlife,” said Park Superintendent Curt Sauer.
All solicitations for contract services will be posted on the federal government’s Fed Biz Opps website (www.fbo.gov). Contractors, businesses, and individuals seeking information about Recovery Act projects can search the site under Opportunity and enter key words such as ‘recovery’ or even a zip code to learn about Recovery Act activities in a particular geographic area. The site has a Getting Started section with helpful information for those people new to federal contracting.
Contracting for park mine closures funded through the Recovery Act will be handled by the National Park Service’s Denver Service Center located in Lakewood, Colorado. Inquiries about these projects can be made to Brenda Karl at 303-98706747, or Rebecca Bizier at 303-969-2362. Information and future updates relating to other park Recovery Act opportunities will be posted on the Fed Biz Opps website.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior. Of that amount, $750 million will fund National Park Service projects.
The ARRA funds are part of a stimulus package that is an important component of the President's plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century. Under the ARRA, Interior is making an investment in conserving America's timeless treasures – our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage – while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.
“With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.
Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department’s economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery. Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force to work closely with Interior’s Inspector General and ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency set by President Obama.