The CREWS-PRB team poses in front of a groundwater well

In late June, researchers and students from the CREWS Powder River Basin (PRB) team, as well as staff from the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG), had the opportunity to visit and tour the Rosebud Mine outside of Colstrip, MT. The Rosebud Mine, operated by Westmoreland Mining LLC, "...is a 25,000-acre surface mine complex located in the northern Powder River Basin near Colstrip, Montana, and the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. Rosebud is a large operation with three active pits and supplies almost all of its current production to the four-unit 2,100 megawatt Colstrip Power Station that is adjacent to the mine and was specifically designed to burn Rosebud coal" (Source: https://westmoreland.com/location/rosebud-mine-montana/).

The CREWS team, with the help of Rosebud employees, was able to learn about the history of the mine, view its active, on-the-ground operations, and see and discuss the various reclamation efforts of the mine. The field trip culminated with a visit to CREWS-PRB research sites located in the area and around Rosebud Creek, a tributary of the Yellowstone River. These research sites consist of groundwater wells, installed in August 2019, with two wells located on land reclaimed from the now defunct Big Sky Mine and two wells located on unmined land. These groundwater wells will ultimately help the research team understand how mining and reclamation activities impact water quality in the area.