In northwestern New Mexico, on the Colorado border, lay the La Plata Mine, an open pit mine that has been producing coal for the San Juan power plant since 1986. In 2002, the mining ended and the area was recultivated.
Traditional recultivation techniques with terraces and slopes would not have provided the desired topographical diversity. After filling the pit, gentle canyons were created to prevent erosion and created a stable, maintenance-free landscape form.
The Office of Surface Mining awards operators of coal mines who have completed an exemplary reclamation. The San Juan Coal Company received the award in 2009 after the restoration of the contours of the landscape.