Program Overview

The Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Economic Development Pilot Program is a federally funded initiative to reclaim eligible coal mined lands for long-term economic and community site development purposes.

The program is administered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mineral Resources Management (ODNR-DMRM). Their agency has received $40 million during the past four years to support the AML Pilot Program. Examples of the types of reclamation work that will be considered for funding:

  • Erosion and Sedimentation Landslides
  • Dangerous Highwalls
  • Acid Mine Drainage Impoundments
  • Gob Piles
  • Hazardous Structures Subsidence
  • Mine Openings

Eligible Project Locations

  1. Unreclaimed Priority 1, Priority 2, or Priority 3 sites (i.e. AML and polluted waters).
  2. Previously reclaimed AML and polluted waters.
  3. Land adjacent to unreclaimed or previously reclaimed AML and polluted waters.
  4. Land and water eligible for reclamation or drainage abatement expenditures, including those mined for coal, or which were affected by such mining or coal processing and abandoned or left in an inadequate reclamation status prior to Aug. 3, 1977.

Proposals meeting any of the above 4 criteria are eligible. Proposals can focus on reclamation and development of the land or reclamation for future development. Project funding requests must be directed toward construction costs. Matching funds are encouraged but not required.

For more details on eligibility, contact Marissa Lautzenheiser, Director of Northern Programs, at or (330) 859-1050 or Terry Van Offeren, Project Manager, at or (740) 814-0493.

Current AML Initiatives in Ohio

These three examples illustrate the types of projects that have been proposed and/or funded through the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Development Pilot Program.


This $954,592 project in eastern Ohio stabilized a parcel of land within a 216-acre industrial park. It is the site of underground mining by Plain View Coal Company in the 1920s. Surface mining removed much of the original workings leaving 2.7 acres within the entire 9 acre parcel to be stabilized. With stabilization measures completed in 2019, it is estimated that the completed work will attract further development and help create 74 jobs and generate nearly $6 million in capital costs.


The Moonville Rail Trail is part of an existing and planned trail system in Vinton and Athens counties. The project currently is 12.2 miles of disconnected rail trail that traverses Zaleski State Forest and Lake Hope State

Park. Pilot project funding of $1.15 million will be used to safeguard 8 dangerous deep mine openings adjacent to the trail as well as additional bridge placements and trail surface improvements. Local and regional partners already have completed $370,000 in trail improvements and have secured $550,000 in grants for additional improvements.

A completed rail trail is expected to result in 236 jobs and total regional economic activity of $21.6 million. Eventually, it will be connected to the Baileys Trail System located on the Wayne National Forest.


This project in Athens County will remove acid and iron from the largest acid mine drainage discharge in Ohio, which drastically impacts 7 miles of Sunday Creek. This $7.5 million project — which includes $3.5 million in Pilot funding — will build an innovative treatment system that produces commercial grade iron oxide pigment for paint and other products while improving water quality and biologic recovery of Sunday Creek. Treatment operations are expected to begin in 2021 and are expected to create 6.9 jobs and have a $2.178 million annual economic impact.

Steps to Funding

Contact Rural Action to conduct a preliminary field review and vetting for potential projects.

  1. If the proposed project site meets selection criteria, a meeting with ODNR-DMRM will be scheduled.
  2. If ODNR-DMRM concurs, Rural Action will collaborate with the project partner and agency staff to submit a project application to ODNR-DMRM. There is no application deadline as projects are reviewed for eligibility and funding in the order they are developed and received.
  3. ODNR-DMRM will submit only approved applications to the federal Office of Surface Mining for final eligibility determination.

Rural Action

Rural Action is working in partnership with ODNR-DMRM and a variety of organizations to find and develop successful projects that reclaim previously mined lands for economic and community use.

Rural Action is a membership-based nonprofit working in Appalachian Ohio since 1991. Our mission is to build a more just economy by developing the region’s assets in environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable ways. A thriving Watershed program has been active for over 20 years, focused on cleaning up acid mine drainage and restoring rivers and streams. Learn more at

Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition

RAC is a multi-state coalition of nonprofit organizations composed of Appalachian Voices, Coalfield Development Corp., and Rural Action. Its goal.

is to spur AML reclamation projects throughout central Appalachia that are responsive to community needs that accelerate the growth of new, sustainable, economic sectors. Learn more at

For More Info, Contact

Marissa Lautzenheiser
Director of Northern Programs
(330) 859-1050

Terry Van Offeren
Project Manager
(740) 814-0493

Download Our Brochure

Learn more about Ohio’s Abandoned Mine Land Economic Development Program.