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Eagle Mine / Belden Cribbings

Site Contact:
Taylor Bowker
On-Scene Coordinator


Site Location:
Belden, CO 81649

The site consists of numerous waste rock piles along steep canyon slopes located just west of the Eagle river and between the towns of Red Cliff and Minturn. This site is close to, but outside the current boundaries of, the Eagle Mine NPL Site (existing upstream of, and immediately south of, the NPL).

Old mine workings along the steep canyon(s) overlooking the Eagle River produced large volumes of waste rock as the waste rock was typically dumped into the canyon below the mine portals. Some of this waste rock at the Site is partially held to the canyon walls by old decaying and collapsing wood retaining walls ("cribbing" or "cribs") which were used, in part, to stabilize the waste rock piles. Other, 'unsecured' waste piles scattered along the canyon have eroded, over time, as a result of weathering and/or other natural forces. Some of the old cribs in an area immediately south if the historic Belden (Colorado) townsite are now decaying, due to age, and/or are collapsing under the weight of the rock piled behind them. In addition, water draining from at least two Site locations, as well as surface water draining across the piles, flows directly into the River via existing rills, furrows, channels and/or conduits. 

Retaining walls have since been installed at the base of the steep canyon slopes to prevent waste rock from entering the river and to mitigate the impact of any potential cribbing failure. These retaining walls have not proven to be effective long term solutions and other mitigation alternatives are being evaluated

A Map is available for viewing GIS information.