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In-Stream Sand and Gravel Mining

In-Stream Sand and Gravel Mining

Missouri streams are an important source of sand and gravel for many construction activities. In many cases, Missouri stream channels provide an abundant and easily accessible source of sand and gravel. In-stream sand and gravel mining is one of the most prevalent types of mining in Missouri, as far as the number of sites. In-stream sand and gravel mining is somewhat of a misnomer because this mining method does not allow for excavating machinery in the flowing portion of the stream. This mining method would be more accurately described as a bar skimming mining operation.

Bar skimming is limited to the exposed portion of a gravel bar above the water line, within the ordinary high banks of a stream but not within the water flow. Bar skimming is recommended as a means for advancing stream resource conservation while maintaining a viable extraction industry. This type of gravel removal operation lowers the risk of forward erosion of the stream channel upstream and sedimentation downstream. In addition, the practice of removing gravel at periods of low water flow will aid in protecting wildlife near the stream environment. Some of the rules include: staying an adequate distance from the stream bank, use of existing crossing areas, leaving an undisturbed buffer of 10 feet from the flowing water line and no mining below the water line unless the operator has applied for and receives a variance after multi-agency consultations have occurred which generally involve the Missouri Department of Conservation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Commercial Gravel Mining

In 2017, the Department of Natural Resources permitted 237 in-stream sites. Numerous commercial mining operators across the state excavate sand and gravel deposits, commonly known as gravel bars, as a source of aggregate material. Questions about permitting should be directed to the department’s Land Reclamation Program at 573-751-4041.

The majority of commercial in-stream mining activities on gravel bars are permitted by the department and some are permitted by USACE. The department and USACE worked together for the last 10 years to make their in-stream sand and gravel mining requirements nearly identical. If in-stream gravel removal is not conducted in strict compliance as written in the Sand and Gravel Excavation Plan, USACE may become involved in the permitting requirements.

Personal Gravel Mining

The Land Reclamation Program does not require a Commercial Gravel Mining permit for personal use only, as identified in the regulations at 10 CSR 40-10.010(2)(B)1.However, personal use gravel mining may be regulated by USACE under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Before conducting any stream gravel removal activities, contact USACE to determine what permitting requirements may apply to your proposed personal use gravel mining. Questions about permitting should be directed to contact the Land Reclamation Program at 573-751-4041, or contact USACE (see link below).