Conservation Provides Support to Solve a Gold Rush-Era Problem in Amador County

Sutter Creek in Amador County, had a Gold Rush-era problem. A small sinkhole had formed just off the picturesque main street. The hole was related to an old and long-since abandoned gold mine…and it was growing.

Enter DOC’s Division of Mine Reclamation (DMR). DMR provided funding and support to safely remediate the sinkhole in the Gold Rush boomtown.

Read on to learn how a historic mine remediation goes from sinkhole to safe street

  • On June 6, 2022, contractors excavated the uppermost portion of a shaft for the Wildman Mine under a parking lot.
  • While the shaft itself was covered by a solid concrete cap, the dirt and material around it had sunk, producing a roughly 2 foot by 4 foot, 6-foot deep sinkhole.
  • Concrete was poured over rock and rebar, making for a quick but robust repair.
  • The city finishes the asphalt, curbs and other work.

Keep scrolling to see short videos of how mine shafts like this one are plugged for safety:

This isn’t the first time DMR’s Abandoned Mine Lands Unit has helped a community deal with a Gold Rush mining issue.

  • In 2010, DMR stepped up after a 200-foot deep mine shaft opened under a baseball diamond in neighboring Calaveras County

The ground of a baseball diamond at San Andreas Community Park in Calaveras County began to sink as children played on the field. Eventually, a 7 foot by 6 foot hole covered by a large boulder opened up.

The hole was thought to be a mine shaft 200 feet deep with a false bottom 14 feet down. There are other deep mine shafts in the area.

  • In 2016, DMR helped to plug a large sinkhole on the sports grounds of a Grass Valley school

A large sinkhole opened on the sports grounds of a Grass Valley school posing safety hazards to students, faculty and the public.

The California Division of Mine Reclamation’s Abandoned Mine Lands Unit worked with contractors to plug and abandon the sinkhole and demonstrate the state’s role in protecting public safety through mine remediation.

What to do if you find an abandoned mine?

First, stay out and stay alive!

Next, to report an abandoned mine, call DMR on our toll-free hotline at 1(877) ​​​OLD-MINE​ (1-877-6​53-6463) or email us at

Leave a Reply