State Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA)

Government Agencies Roles and Responsibilities under SMARA

Lead Agency - Stanislaus County is the Lead Agency under SMARA and is responsible to:
  • Adopt mining ordinance
  • Process and issue permits to mine
  • Implement CEQA review of mining permits
  • Approve reclamation plans and financial assurances
  • Conduct annual inspections
  • Enforcement
  • Approve amendments and Interim Management Plans (IMP)
  • Review requests for mining exemptions under SMARA

General Plan

The Conservation/Open Space Element of the Stanislaus County General Plan emphasizes the conservation and management of natural resources and the preservation of open space lands (any parcel or area of land or water which is essentially unimproved). The Element:
  1. promotes the protection, maintenance, and use of the County's natural resources, with special emphasis on scarce resources and those that require special control and management;
  2. prevents wasteful exploitation, destruction, and neglect of natural resources;
  3. recognizes the need for natural resources to be maintained for their ecological values as well as for their direct benefit to people;
  4. preserves open space lands for outdoor recreation including scenic, historic and cultural areas; and
  5. preserves open space for public health and safety including areas subject to landslides, flooding, and high fire risk and areas required for the protection of water and air quality.
Goal Nine of this Element is to "Manage extractive mineral resources to ensure an adequate supply without degradation of the environment." Under this Goal, policies and implementation measures have been adopted by the County to:
  • encourage mining in areas classified by the State Division of Mines and Geology as having significant deposits of extractive mineral resources;
  • utilize the California Environmental quality Act (CEQA) process to protect mineral resources as well as the environment and to identify environmental impacts and alternatives and indicate the manner for such significant effects to be avoided or mitigated;
  • adopt the Mineral Resources land use designation for those areas designated by the State as containing significant deposits of mineral resources;
  • emphasize the conservation and development of lands having significant deposits of extractive mineral resources by not permitting uses that threaten the potential to extract the minerals;
  • implement approval and reclamation of mineral resources as required by the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act of 1975 (SMARA) to minimize undesirable impacts; reclaim mined lands consistent with the land use designation, and in cases where mineral extraction occurs on productive agricultural land, adopt a reclamation plan that retains or restores a maximum amount of agricultural or open space land.

State Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA)

  • Adopted in 1975 and amended in 1991 to require all mines obtain an approved reclamation plan.
  • Numerous modifications and clarifications have been made to SMARA and mining law, in general, via additions to the California Code of Regulations (CCR) and the Public Resources Code (PRC).

California Department of Conservation (DOC)

DOC State Mining and Geology Board - Promulgates regulations, certifies mining ordinances, mineral land conservation review and approval, appeals.

DOC California Geological Survey - conducts and compiles mineral land classification surveys and reports.

DOC Office of Mine Reclamation

  • Reclamation Unit – Review Reclamation Plans, Site Visits, Workshops, Publications
  • Reporting and Compliance Unit - Maintains Mine Database, Annual Reports and Fees, Lead Agency Oversight, Enforcement, Field Investigations
  • Policy and Local Assistance Unit – Lead Agency Outreach, Review Ordinances, Workshops, Legislative Review, Policy Analysis
  • Abandoned Mine Land Unit – Inventory, Hazard Identification, Characterization