RAMS Program

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Abandoned noncoal mines, resulting from mining activities which occurred over the past century and a half, are scattered throughout the western United States. These abandoned mines, which are located on private, state, and public lands, contain numerous public safety and environmental hazards such as open shafts and acid rock drainage. Most of the sites were mined and abandoned prior to modern environmental regulations being enacted in the 1970s. Ownership of these sites, and the attendant responsibility to clean them up, has often been transferred over the decades to individuals or companies who had nothing to do with causing the environmental or safety problems at the site. Many of these "owners" do not have the resources to clean up problems associated with the abandoned mines they inherited. Unlike abandoned coal mines, there is no single dedicated source to clean up these abandoned noncoal sites. At the state level, there are very few funding mechanisms to fill the gap. As a result, state and federal land management agencies piece together whatever funding they can but they are clearly limited in the amount of restoration and safety work they can accomplish. Preliminary 1998 inventories of western states hardrock abandoned mines estimate 300,000 sites (WBA/NMA, 1998).

Numerous State, Industry, Federal agencies and Congressional members support the establishment of the Corps RAMS Program to assist in the restoration and optimization of cleanup at abandoned mine lands. Stakeholders include:


  • Alaska Division of Mining and Water Management, Abandoned Mine Land Program

  • Arizona State Mine Inspector's Office, Abandoned Mines Division

  • Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology, Inactive Mine Reclamation Program

  • Idaho (multistate agency involvement>

  • Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Mine Waste Cleanup Bureau

  • Nevada Division of Minerals

  • New Mexico Mining and Minerals Division, Abandoned Mine Land Bureau

  • North Dakota Abandoned Mine Lands Program

  • South Dakota Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, Minerals and Mining Program

  • Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program

  • Washington State Abandoned Mine Land Program

  • Wyoming Abandoned Mine Lands Division, Department of Environmental Quality


  • National Mining Association

  • Nevada Mining Association

  • Alaska Miners Association

  • Idaho Mining Association

  • Arizona Mining Association

  • California Mining Association

  • Colorado Mining Association

  • Montana Mining Association

  • New Mexico Mining Association

  • South Dakota Mining Association

  • Utah Mining Association

  • Wyoming Mining Association

  • Northwest Mining Association

  • Western Governors' Association


  • U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service

  • U.S. Department of the Interior, National Parks Service

  • U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

  • U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

RAMS Mission

Develop a common regional businesss plan to expand the Corps national service capabilities and facilitating Federal and State partnerships for the protection and restoration of water resources and related ecosystems impacted by past mining practices.

RAMS Purpose and Implementation


The purpose of this program is to support activities and priorities of the State, Federal and nonprofit entities, and a such is not led by the Corps of Engineers, but is coordinated by and assisted by the Corps of Engineers, and is intended to enhance present activities of stakeholders. This program will use existing and future Corps authorities provided to the Corps under Support for Others/Work for Others (SFO/WFO) and Civil Works Programs. All services identified as RAMS or RAMS-type work (as defined in this PMP) will be program managed under Western Regional RAMS Center (the Center) responsibility and authority, with no exceptions. This is done to support the stakeholders in the restoration of abandoned mines and associated watersheds affected by mining activities. For the purpose of this program, the Western Region of RAMS coincides with the Western Region of the US Office of Surface Mining. States included in the region are Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, and Wyoming.


This PMP is a living document, the purpose which is to establish the manner in which USACE will provide turnkey program and project management services to Federal, State and local stakeholders for all RAMS responsibilities. It establishes policies, procedures, and authorities for the Western Region RAMS Program. The PMP establishes a team approach to the complete process of planning, design, restoration and if necessary operation and maintenance and long term monitoring. Final approval for any coordination changes to the PMP will be approved by the RAMS Executive Liaison.

Program and Capabilities Overview

To facilitate implementation of the RAMS program, the Center is established to provide a full service program management to RAMS stakeholders as a gateway to the Corps' Northwestern Division, Pacific Ocean Division and South Pacific Division, and other world-wide capabilities. The Center will develop multi-agency agreements to package funding designated for various sites or actions to accomplish a moral global activity encompassing each of the funding intents. All activities will be performed as partnerships with the State (or tribe) and other Federal agencies. This requires the Center to integrate and manage all current and future RAMS-type activities and work under traditional Civil Works, Continuing Authorities Program, and Planning Assistance to States authorities, as well as the Support for Others, military authorities, or other authorities. It is the goal of the program that a percentage of the traditional Civil Works, Continuing Authorities Program, and Planning Assistance to States funding be prioritized for RAMS work with the western region. All project management and technical work will usually be performed in the assigned geographic districts through the project delivery team and virtual team concepts. Services provided under this program include, but are not limited to:

  • Planning and Programming

  • Watershed and Environmental Protection

  • Database development/management

  • Training Program

  • Funds Management

  • Real Estate

  • Long term project monitoring

  • ID technical experts within each MSC

  • Packaging multi-source funding/projects

  • Construction/Construction management

 Organizational Elements, Responsibilities and Authorities

Western Region RAMS Program Elements

The Western Region RAMS program includes the following functions/organization:

  • Executive Liaison

  • Executive Steering Committee (ESC)

  • Western Region RAMS Resource Center (the Center)

  • Geographic District Offices

  • Research and Development Elements

The Center will be a virtual Center location within respective Corps MSC's and geographic district. Lines of communication for the organization are described below and in Appendix B of this document.

Executive Liaison

The Executive Liaison for management of the Western Region RAMS Program formed by agreement among Northwestern Division (NWD), Pacific Ocean Division (POD), and South Pacific Division (SPD) is the South Pacific Division Commander as shown in the RAMS Western Region Program Plan (Appendix A).

Executive Steering Committee

The Executive Steering Committee, as outlined in the RAMS Agreement, will be made up of a representative from each MSC and chaired by the Center Program Manager. Each respective Division commander will make ESC assignments.

The Center

The Center consists of one Center Program Manager, two Center Deputy Program Managers and a Program Analyst. The Center Program Manager will be the primary point of contact and maybe contacted from this web site through the webmaster.

When funds are received for RAMS or RAMS-type work, the Divisions within the Western Region will fill the interim positions above with permanent selections using a regionally appointed panel.

Geographic District Offices

Execution of Western Region RAMS work will usually be accomplished by the Corps of Engineers geographic district offices located in Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Walla Walla, Omaha, Kansas City, Alaska, Japan, Honolulu, and the Far East.


Research and Development Elements

Research and development elements include, but are not limited to, existing government laboratories, contracted capabilities, academic institutions and other research and development oriented technical groups.

Western Region RAMS Program Responsibilities

Executive Liaison

The Executive Liaison will provide executive oversight of the RAMS program as established in the RAMS Western Region Program Plan (Appendix A). Functions of the Executive Liaison include:

  • Final approval authority for any changes to the RAMS PMP

  • Building top to top networks

  • Representing RAMS program internally to Corps senior management

  • Guiding the strategic direction the program takes with the stakeholders

  • Approval of RAMS policy

  • Final decisions on all unresolved disputes

Executive Steering Committee

The Executive Steering Committee will consult with and advise the Center Program Manager on matters concerning RAMS activities. Decisions of the ESC will be by consensus. Primary functions of the ESC include but are not limited to:

  • The ESC will assist on issue resolution, policy guidance, and MSC input to the Center.

  • The ESC will assist the districts in the development of regional technical experts in RAMS activities.

  • The ESC will review changes to the PMP, draft RAMS guidance and draft Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) documents that will be used in implementation of the RAMS program in conjunction with the major stakeholders.

  • The ESC will review complaints about the Center operations.

  • The ESC will review research and development requirements and advise on research and development projects for RAMS funding.

  • The ESC will review disputes concerning the determination of the district work assignment by the Center's Program Manager and forward to the Executive Liaison if consensus cannot be reached on those assignments.

The Center

The Center will program manage all components of RAMS and RAMS-type Civil Works and SFO/WFO funded work within the Western Region and is the Corps lead with all other agencies concerning RAMS issues. RAMS projects include, but are not limited to sites where extraction, processing and enrichment of minerals, initial removal processes, concentration, post extraction processing, tailings, tailing impoundments, dredged materials, water-based separations, mining support systems (roads, pipes, drainage systems, structures, etc.) evaporation beds/ponds, smelting and all other mining activities occurred. In addition, RAMS work includes all aspects of activities associated with abandoned mine lands. The Center will initiate and maintain close relationships with USACE districts that provide formal lines of communication to Federal, State and local stakeholders. The Center will promote the virtual team concept, RAMS funds, and packaging of RAMS activities with multi-agency funding. The Center Program Manager will chair the ESC. The Center staff will be solely dedicated to meeting the requirements of the RAMS program and to providing centralized program and funds management. By applying best businesss practices, the Center will continually strive to improve delivery of high quality products and services on time and at the lowest reasonable cost. If execution problems arise, the Program Manager will investigate the details and consult with the ESC in a change of executing districts. The Center will oversee the execution of assigned RAMS program and seek opportunities for continually improving services to RAMS customers. Primary functions of the Center include, but are not limited to the following:

  • The assignment and distribution of work to geographic Districts; monitoring, and upward reporting of that work, and resolution of project issues elevated by the stakeholders. The Center also will monitor work assignments provided directly to districts to assure that stakeholder expectations are met.

  • The development and maintenance of RAMS policy and guidance, regional/national agreements with other agencies, technology data bases, RAMS QA/QC programs, RAMS SOP's, and Western Region RAMS workforce capability.

  • Responsible for implementing a virtual team approach with ESC advice and input from RAMS virtual team made up of POC's from appropriate districts within the three division region.

  • Responsible for developing and maintaining customer account plans with appropriate districts.

  • Performs packaged projects as single projects with multiple funding sources.

  • Develops RAMS policy and guidance.

  • Program Manager of the Center serves as Chairperson for ESC.

  • Sole conduit for upward reporting and legislative coordination.

  • Coordinate RAMS funding to assure delivery of work and funds to the appropriate district.

  • Responsible for compilation and maintenance of a program inventory database, assuring adequate team resources and tracking new technologies.

  • Maintain a list of expertise and availability for RAMS work within the Western Region.

  • Develop and implement Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to be used in the RAMS Program.

  • Assist Districts and MSCs in development of short and long term training needs.

  • Develop QA/QC guidance to be used in the RAMS program.

  • Management of all RAMS project funds including non-government (delegable to the geographic district offices).

  • Coordinate regularly with Mid-Continent and Appalachian Region Centers to develop and ensure consistency within the National RAMS Program.

  • Coordinate with National RAMS Executive Liaison (TBD at HQ (Washington)).

MSC and Geographic District Offices

Geographic district offices are responsible for the management and execution of specific projects from conception to implementation and monitoring. This would include but is not limited to the planning, design, construction, and long term monitoring of the assigned projects. The geographic district offices will report the status of its assigned work to the RAMS resource center on a periodic basis. The MSCs and geographic district offices will code RAMS work for ease of accounting and of upward reporting according to Center guidance. The geographic district offices will work through the Center for all coordination with any stakeholders in developing present and future RAMS activities.

Other Resources

The RAMS program may utilize the services of other organizations. The services, include, but are not limited to research, technical support, education, and outreach.

  • Acid Drainage Technology Initiative (ADTI) - ADTI can address environmental, water quality problems and safety issues related to abandoned non-coal mines found in the Western United States. ADTI anticipates being a major research organization in the west dealing with abandoned mine land sites.

  • Other existing Government/non-Government Capabilities - The RAMS Program may use existing capabilities for research, technical support, education and outreach as required.

Western Region RAMS Program Authorities

Executive Liaison

The Executive Liaison has all the authority of the HQ element for the RAMS program, including, but not limited to:

  • Approve and sign RAMS MOA's with other agencies

  • Approve revisions to this PMP

  • HQ authority for program and legislative contact

  • Approve project packages

Executive Steering Committee

The Executive Steering Committee members have the authority to speak for their respective MSC's. The ESC will provide assistance to the Center and provide an additional resource for the Districts and the Center on RAMS issues.

The Center

The Center will perform as HQUSACE staff element under the Executive Liaison. The Center will be a HQ level function funded by project specific and General Expense funds. businesss development efforts for the RAMS Program will be funded from District resources unless supplemental funding is available. The Center shall determine and develop accounting and reporting requirements for the program. The Center is authorized to provide services to support RAMS legislative and policy requirements and manage research and development activities. The Center is authorized to define mutually benefiting projects in a non-augmentation arena that can be packaged as a single project performing the aggregate work authorized under each individual project authorization. All business development, work assigned to and performed by the Corps, including its districts and divisions, will be coordinated and approved through the Center.

 Work Procedure

In determining priorities to execute the program, the Corps will fully coordinate with federal, state, and local stakeholders. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) will be developed by the Center and approved by the ESC, with review/input from all stakeholders.

 Program Authorities and Funding

Funding for the RAMS program in support of the stakeholders comes from the following sources: Reimbursable (SFO, WFO), Corps Civil Works appropriations and Military appropriations. This requires the Center to integrate and manage all activities specifically authorized for RAMS-type work under traditional Civil Works, Continuing Authorities Program, and Planning Assistance to States authorities, as well as the Support for Others, military authorities, or other authorities.

  • The Center may integrate funds from various authorities for facilitation of project execution as allowed by statute.

  • MIPR monies to geographic district offices from multiple accounts at the Center.

Funding for the Center operation will be made up of a percentage of all project and program funds as appropriate. Until program and/or project appropriations support Program Management staff, funding for the Steering Committee members and RAMS Center personnel will be the responsibility of each MSC.

 Contractual Authority

The RAMS virtual teams will develop a regional contracting database available to all geographic district offices for reference on RAMS projects. Expansion of this contracting capacity will be implemented as the program grows and when an overall project database is developed. That database and accompanying priority listings will provide justification for supplementing existing contract capacity. The Center will not have contracting authority, rather the individual districts will execute and manage the contracts for performance of RAMS work. Contract capability developed at a district should include RAMS whenever possible. Regional capabilities are encouraged and shall be coordinated not only between districts, but also with the Center.


The Executive Liaison will team with other government agencies to minimize performance of redundant work, especially in performance of National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) requirements. Partnership documents with stakeholders will include provisions for acceptance of existing work, customer criteria, and packaging of projects for economy. RAMS work is not required to follow Civil Works procedures and shall follow industry standards, as a minimum, to the extent agreed upon by the respective stakeholders.

 Performance Measurement

The Center's performance is gauged by the development and execution of RAMS program. Additional performance factors for consideration include the Center's responsiveness to RAMS customers, the quality of the products, cost control, and communications. Executive Liaison will communicate with the stakeholders to evaluate and determine the success of the program.


This Project Management Plan is a living document. It will be reviewed and modified, as needed, on an annual basis subject to approval of the Executive Liaison.

This Project Management Plan for the Restoration of Abandoned Mine Sites is reviewed and approved on 20 December 2000
 Appendix A- Western Region Program Plan


Create a corporate approach that realigns the Corps to get closer to our customers by transforming a number of sub-groups into a virtual team. One Door to the Corps will optimize our customer effectiveness, which will result in the Corps becoming the RAMS engineering team of choice for other Federal and State agencies, who have an estimated $33 to $72 billion workload in identification, remediation and restoration of NON-COAL ABANDONED MINES in the West.



Account Executive

The SPD Commander hereby assumes the role of Account Executive and accountability for Western Region RAMS Program.

Steering Committee

This four-person committee consists of a senior level representative from SPD, NWD, and POD and the Program Coordinator. Primary role of the committee is to consult with the Account Executive and determine workload assignments. The Steering Committee must reach a decision on assignment of the executing district by consensus. If the Steering Committee cannot reach consensus, the executing district assignment question will be raised to the Account Executive. This agreement id developed based on guidance provided from HQUSACE in ER-5-1-10 "Corps-Wide Areas of Work Responsibility," Account Management and direction of the Board of Directors on inter-divisional work assignments.

Program Coordinator

The Account Executive hereby affirms the Western Region RAMS Program Coordinator responsible for implementing a team approach with steering committee guidance and input from the RAMS POCs and virtual team. The incumbent is responsible for coordinating with program/project managers concerning the development and maintenance of Customer Account Plans for RAMS customers. He assists in developing policy, guidance, and serves as chair of the Steering Committee. His charter is to build trust and credibility with customers by encouraging the customer account teams to listen to their customer's needs, ask questions, and offer solutions. As Program Coordinator, he will compile and maintain project status, virtual team resources and new technology databases. He will be the sole conduit for upward reporting and coordination with legislative affairs. Facilitates flow of information between the Steering Committee, Account Teams (discussed below), District Engineers, and local district PMs. If a National or Regional RAMS-related Program is established by the Administration, Congress, or HQUSACE, the RAMS Program Coordinator's duties will also include program management of RAMS funding, distribution of work to geographic districts and quality control and assurance, maintains status of available expertise for RAMS work within the Western Region.


The primary function of district POCs is to participate as a member of the virtual RAMS team. Existing district POCs will continue to work with existing PM or Customer Account Teams. RAMS POCs are responsible for forwarding team information as appropriate to their respective Districts/Divisions.

The RAMS POCs are responsible for assuring fully integrated businesss and program development. RAMS POCs will coordinate with assigned project managers within their respective Districts. All program/project related data would be upward reported to the Program Coordinator through PMs and/or Customer Account Team members. The POCs will be responsible for developing Stand Operating Procedures for RAMS.

By signatures on 03 December 1998 we agree to the terms and request implementation of this plan.

Commanders at SPD, NWD, and POD.