The Coal Program of the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety awarded Roy Karo with the Jim Pendleton Mined Land Reclamation Award. Roy has worked at the Seneca Mine surface coal mining complex for 35 years, primarily as the reclamation manager. In addition to his employment at the Seneca Mines, Roy also serves on the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Board. Roy is passionate, outspoken, energetic, and extremely knowledgeable about mined land reclamation and wildlife habitat restoration.
As reclamation manager for the Seneca Mines, Roy has continually sought solutions to the challenges of reclamation in western Colorado, specifically revegetation and drainage control. Roy has implemented innovative practices at the Seneca Mines, including participating in the CSU aspen reestablishment trials. Roy has applied the results of the trials at all three of the Seneca Mines, resulting in several healthy stands of reestablished shrubs throughout the reclaimed areas. He has experimented with different shrub species, planting rates, and planting methods, always looking to improve on his success. From the late 1970s through today it is very apparent that reclamation under Roy’s supervision has evolved, resulting in the reestablishment of diverse stands of vegetation and exceptional wildlife habitat.
Drainage control and reestablishment of reclaimed lands has been a major challenge at the Seneca Mines. Large storm events, in excess of design standards, have forced reconstruction of several major drainages at all of the mines. Rather than reconstruct with existing designs, Roy has responded with redesigned drainages, well in excess of the required design event - utilizing combinations of check dams, surge structures, and stock ponds. Roy’s supervision of the implementation of the improved designs has resulted in excellent workmanship.
Being an avid hunter and hunting guide, Roy’s extensive knowledge of wildlife has greatly contributed to his success with habitat restoration at the mines. Reclaimed areas of the Seneca Mines are host to elk, deer, bear, Columbian Sharp-tailed grouse (including active leks on reclamation), Sandhill cranes, raptors, and numerous species of song birds.
Roy continues his education through seminars and workshops on range management, and regularly discusses the applicability of alternative reclamation practices at the Seneca Mines with Division personnel.