An ongoing project to clean up three abandoned mine sites in the Mansfield Canyon Watershed near Patagonia is now 80-percent complete, the Coronado National Forest said this week.

Work began late last year at the former Dixie Mine, Hosey Mine and Site 7 in the Santa Rita Mountains to prevent waste materials containing heavy metals such as lead and arsenic from migrating off site and into the surrounding environment.

At the Dixie site, approximately 5,000 cubic yards of waste material were excavated, deposited in an onsite cell and encapsulated with three feet of clean soil.

“The Dixie Consolidation Cell has been completed and disturbed areas of the site were contoured to match existing terrain and seeded with a native seed mix collected by Borderlands Restoration, a local nonprofit organization,” the CNF said.

Approximately 42,000 cubic yards of waste material from Hosey and Site 7 was excavated, hauled and placed in a repository that was completed the last week of February. The waste was then covered with 18 inches of clean soil in preparation for the installation of a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) liner, which will then be covered by six feet of additional clean material, the CNF said.

The mine sites will ultimately be re-seeded with native plants, shrubs and trees collected by Borderlands Restoration.

Because heavy construction equipment is required for completion of the environmental remediation, the CNF said, access to Mansfield Canyon will continue to be closed to the public until Aug. 31.

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