Task 3:  Ecological Reuse of Brownfield Sites

Task Sponsor:  Freeport McMoRan


The reclamation and restoration of mining-impacted land can generate valuable opportunities for both companies and the communities in which they operate. Reclaiming facilities such as tailings impoundments, stockpiles (and other lands categorized as brownfield sites) and transforming them into greenspace can deliver lasting environmental, social and cultural benefits. These include increased biodiversity and wildlife habitat, dust and erosion mitigation, stormwater attenuation, community engagement and revitalization, improved aesthetics, environmental education, and recreational opportunities. The regeneration of brownfields also provides a prime resource for economic regeneration through renewable energy projects, ecotourism and other sustainable land-use solutions.

Actively seeking partnerships as part of the planning process is critical in identifying the priorities of various stakeholders, including decision makers, agencies, conservation organizations and community groups. Incorporating the concerns and expectations of stakeholders early into the brownfield regeneration plan can greatly influence long-term success. Developing a systematic stakeholder engagement procedure also facilitates a sense of ownership in the redevelopment process, and ensures that partners are invested in the long-term success of the site.

Problem Statement

Your team will design a re-use plan for a previously reclaimed stockpile in Bisbee, AZ. The 38-acre site is located adjacent to Tintown, and is surrounded by both natural and developed areas (Appendix A). The site has already been stabilized, reclaimed, and revegetated with native species (Appendix B). Your post-reclamation plan should include options for one or more of the following considerations: economic redevelopment, community recreation or wildlife habitat. The plan should also describe how to develop collaborative relationships amongst stakeholders in order to establish common goals for the site. You will also need to describe a long-term management and maintenance plan for the site as part of returning the brownfield to community use.

Design Considerations

Your project design should provide specific details and outcomes as follows:

  • Incorporate one or more sustainable and productive end-uses for the site, as described above
  • Qualitatively assess or describe the benefits provided by your re-use plan
  • For each of these end-uses, identify relevant facilities and infrastructure (informational signage, ramadas, trails, bike paths, parking lots etc.) that should be included in the plan
  • Conduct a stakeholder mapping exercise to identify who the key stakeholders are, and what their priorities may be
  • Describe your stakeholder engagement procedure
  • Discuss how you will overcome stakeholders’ concerns and perceived issues with utilizing a previously impacted site
  • Determine how you will ensure the longevity and sustainability of the greenspace by building in management and maintenance considerations into the re-use plan.

Bench-Scale Demonstration

Bench scale demonstrations will serve to illustrate the design considerations listed above.  They can include, but are not limited to, video productions, computer simulations, tabletop displays, and scale or architectural models.

Written Report Requirements

The written report should demonstrate your team’s insight into the full scope of the issue and include all aspects of the problem and your proposed solution. The report will be evaluated for quality of writing, organization, clarity, reason, and coherence. Standards for publications in technical journals (e.g., citing sources, style format) apply. In addition to the listed requirements, your report must address in detail the items highlighted in the Problem Statement, Design Considerations, and Evaluation Criteria. 

Evaluation Criteria

Each team is advised to read the Participation Guide for a comprehensive understanding of the contest evaluation criteria. Upon registration, WERC will provide you with a copy of the Public Involvement Plan and Participation Guide.

Additionally, your proposed solution will be evaluated on the following:

  • Potential for real-life implementation, including an objective assessment of likelihood for success.
  • Quality of the analysis of benefits provided by your re-use plan
  • Thoroughness of your stakeholder mapping and engagement procedure
  • Originality, innovativeness, functionality, maintainability, reliability, and long-term sustainability of the proposed design
  • How well the bench-scale represents your full-scale design concept

Appendix A

Galena Stockpile Map

Appendix B

Scientific Name Common name Duration Growth Habit
Aristida purpurea Purple threeawn Perennial Graminoid
Bothriochloa barbinodis (Lag.) Cane bluestem Perennial Graminoid
Bouteloua aristidoides Needle grama Annual Graminoid
Bouteloua barbata var. rothrockii Rothrock grama Annual Graminoid
Bouteloua curtipendula(Vaughn) Sideoats grama, Vaughn Perennial Graminoid
Bouteloua gracilis(alma) Blue grama, alma Perennial Graminoid
Digitaria californica Arizona cottontop Perennial Graminoid
Hilaria belangeri Curly-mesquite Perennial Graminoid
Leptochloa dubia Green Sprangletop Perennial Graminoid
Setaria macrostachya Plains bristlegrass Perennial Graminoid
Sporobolus cryptandrus Sand dropseed Perennial Graminoid
Baileya multiradiata Desert marigold Annual/Biennial/Perennial Forb, Herb
Senna covesii Desert senna Perennial Subshrub, Forb, Herb
Sphaeralcea ambigua Desert glodemallow Perennial Subshrub, Forb, Herb
Acacia constricta White thorn acacia Perennial Tree, Shrub
Acacia greggii Catclaw acacia Perennial Tree, Shrub
Acacia smallii Sweet acacia Perennial Tree, Shrub
Ambrosia deltoidea Triangle leaf bursage Perennial Subshrub, Shrub
Atriplex canescens Fourwing salt bush Perennial Tree, Shrub
Atriplex lentiformis Quail bush Perennial Subshrub, Shrub
Atriplex polycarpa Desert saltbush Perennial Shrub
Encelia farinosa A. Gray. Brittle bush Perennial Subshrub, Shrub
Prosopis velutina Velvet mesquite Perennial Tree, Shrub