Missouri was the leading producer of lead in the United StatesÃ¢â‚¬â€as well as the worldÃ¢â‚¬â€for more than a century. One of the lead sources is known as the Old Lead Belt, located in southeast Missouri. The primary ore mineral in the region is galena, which can be found both in surface deposits and underground as deep as 200 feet. More than 8.5 million tons of lead were produced from the Old Lead Belt before operations ceased in 1972. Although active lead mining has ended, the effects of mining activities still remain in the form of large mine waste piles on the landscape typically near tributaries and the main stem of the Big River, which drains the Old Lead Belt. Six large mine waste piles encompassing more than 2,800 acres, exist within the Big River Basin. These six mine waste piles have been an available source of trace element-rich suspended sediments transported by natural erosional processes downstream into the Big River. A study was performed by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7, to calculate and characterize suspended-sediment quantity and quality within the Big River basin after reclamation of the mine waste piles ended in 2012. Streamflow and suspended sediments were quantified and sampled at two locations along a 68-mile reach of the Big River between Bonne Terre and Byrnes Mill, Missouri. The results will help regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, determine impaired reaches and ecosystems for remedial and restoration efforts.