Surface Mining & Reclamation Division 2023 Texas Reclamation Award

August 01, 2023

The Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA) is the latest recipient of the RRC’s Texas Reclamation Award. The award recognizes the successful reclamation of the Pond SP-50 Islands Project at TMPA’s Gibbons Creek Lignite Mine, vastly improving the land from its former natural state.

Since its reclamation, the site has become a popular location for the Christmas Bird Count and aquatic wildlife in Grimes County, east of Bryan.

Pond SP-50 Islands Project was originally built in 1994 for sediment control of a new area and mining began in 1995.  Later that year, TMPA closed Gibbons Creek Lignite Mine and decided to import coal from another location and no mining occurred in the watershed of Pond SP-50. 

In 2016, a decision was made to convert the waste piles left on the area into islands with wetland wildlife enhancement features.  Channels were excavated to separate the waste piles from the banks of the pond, leaving them as islands.  The soils of the waste piles were improved to create suitable plant growth material by liming, fertilizing, and deep aeration. 

In 2018, TMPA planted grass and woody vegetation and used sprinklers to help the vegetation become established.

Pond SP-150
Pond SP-50 Islands

The project meets and exceeds the intended Post-Mining Land Use as it enhances the Developed Water Resources designation of the pond and provides an additional 12 acres of added environmental value in the form of wetlands and wildlife enhancement areas distributed over four islands

About the Railroad Commission:
Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit