Kate Holstein and Jamie Cundiff

Kate Holstein & Jamie Cundiff
Forest Program Directors, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
Hope Mine Site, near Aspen, CO
September 7

Kate Holstein and Jamie Cundiff are the Forest Program Directors at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES). Two years ago, they coordinated the cleanup of the Hope Mine, which was once a silver mine and lies on a slope above Castle Creek, Aspen’s primary water source. But the site remediation wasn’t carried out in a conventional manner. Instead, ACES used a pioneering technique that combines biochar (deadwood that has been heated in a low-oxygen environment to create a fine charcoal) with compost. When this mixture is spread on a mine site, the biochar functions as a magnet for toxins, locking them out of the reach of percolating water. Two years later, the effectiveness of this remediation technique is clear: where there was only rock debris two years ago, native grasses now grow. Kate and Jamie say that the project’s human component is complete: now nature will take over remediation.

By Jenni Doering

About semesterinthewest

Semester in the West

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: