Episodes - Lessons
Sand Mining and Ecosystems

Life lesson here. What's the impact on the planet and society when a user of natural resources only takes resources for profit and fails to reinvest in restoring what they've impacted? Everyone loses. The planet, society, ecosystems and even the company end up being losers. What's the solution? For an industrial sand mining operation it begins with a comprehensive environmental study that becomes part of their mine reclamation plan that should consider all the abiotic and biotic factors that may be impacted by mining.

When done right, a mining operation is actively going through several stages of evolution and transformation. At Tunnel City, Wisconsin for instance, they didn't simply come in and bulldoze off the overburden from the entire area so they could scoop up all the quality sand and leave a giant gaping hole in the ground. No, that would be totally wrong for the environment and nearby communities. Instead, they mine across the landscape by mining sand in one smaller area while restoring previously mined sections in different areas at the same time. So they're essentially reclaiming and restoring some areas while they're also mining the sand from new ones. The end result is that there's less total cumulative impact on the greater landscape and the various species that live there.

We can imagine how a white-tailed deer or wild turkey could easily flee the advance of mining in a certain area and return months or years later when the area was restored. But what about special species that depend on a key part of the environment, or what if a species is special or endangered? That too is part of a proper environmental study that's incorporated into the restoration plan. Watch the video here and read more in the "Learn More" section below to discover how certain species deserve special attention during planning and restoration.

Be sure to explore these other related serious science videos and their companion lesson activities on industrial sand mining, with your teachers and fellow students for some fun interactive peer learning.

The educational partner listed below supported the science video content you see here. Visit their page to learn more about their sand mining operations.