Since 1996, King & MacGregor Environmental, Inc. (KME) has been the natural resource consultant on this project. The Empire and Tilden Mines required compensatory wetland mitigation for permits issued to facilitate mine expansion. KME conducted a feasibility study to determine if the creation/restoration of wetlands was possible in conjunction with mine reclamation at the former Republic Mine and establishment of the 2,300-acre Republic Wetland Preserve (RWP). A legal policy analysis was completed to determine if the site would meet the wetland banking requirements of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
When the project received final approval, KME prepared a comprehensive wetland design plan. Construction began in 1997 and continued through 2000. Wetland monitoring was initiated in 1998 and continued for five years after construction for each phase of the project (until 2004). The restoration was a success with vegetative establishment and wildlife use documented throughout the area. Species such as sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis), peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus), gray wolf (Canis lupus), bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), black bear (Ursus americanus), bobcats (Lynx rufus), and coyotes (Canis latrans) have been documented at the site. An agreement with the MDEQ now allows for use of wetlands within the RWP as a wetland mitigation bank for future mine expansions at Empire and Tilden.
- Reclaimed an abandoned open pit iron mine by creating a wetland bank for compensatory wetland
mitigation associated with current and future mine expansion
- Created/restored over 670 acres of wetland within the 2,300-acre Republic Wetlands Preserve
- Reconfigured iron tailings basins and water re-use basins to create wetlands
- Created an industry model for reclaiming mined land into quality natural habitats.
Client: Cliffs Mining Services Company
Location: Marquette County, Michigan
Republic Mine basin after reclamation
Republic Mine before reclamation
Osprey nest platform in the wetland preserve