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In-Stream Sand and Gravel Mining

One of the most prevalent types of mining in Missouri, as far as the number of sites, is the "in-stream" removal of sand and gravel. Numerous operators across the entire state use sand and gravel deposits, called gravel or sand "bars," as a source of aggregate material.

During the 1990s this activity underwent several changes in regulatory control within Missouri. In the early 1990s, the Land Reclamation Program was the permitting and enforcement authority that both issued permits for this type of mining activity and also oversaw the proper removal of sand and gravel from Missouri’s streams. In the mid-1990s, the regulation of this activity was taken up by the Army Corps of Engineers who basically took over the process of permitting and inspecting these mining facilities. The Army Corps of Engineers lost their jurisdiction over this activity in late 1998 owing to a ruling by the U.S. District Court of Appeals. The court found that "de-minimus" or incidental fall back of sand and gravel into the stream from which it was being excavated did not constitute the placement of fill by the mining operation. Hence, the court ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers had exceeded their authority in requiring a permit for this activity.

In January 1999, the Land Reclamation Program resumed the former position of the regulatory authority over this type of mining activity and bases this authority upon the provision of the state’s Land Reclamation Act. Approximately 150 permits were re-issued to the mining industry during the early months of 1999 by the Land Reclamation Program to take the place of the existing Army Corps of Engineer’s permits. This responsibility continues to the present day on the part of the Land Reclamation Program with approximately 200 mining permits issued.