Before you begin any reclamation work or even start prioritizing your work, it will be necessary to gather as much information as possible about the area you want to work in.
You can start by gathering all the information you can about the streams or watershed. States are required to compile water quality inventory reports every two years, and state 303(d) lists show streams in each state that are not meeting water quality standards. There may even be existing water quality monitoring programs on the specific stream or stream segment you are concerned about.
You will also need to research the history of the area to find out what mining companies worked the land, what techniques they used, and who currently owns the land. Active mining companies may be able to help you identify current owners, as will the appropriate state or federal agencies. Local and state historic preservation societies may be able to provide a wealth of information as well.
Maps, land deeds, water quality information, and other background documents may be obtained from any of the following:
County clerk offices
Local municipal authorities
Professional water labs
State environmental agencies