ST. LOUIS, Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Peabody Energy has been honored with two U.S. Department of the Interior 2012 Excellence in Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Awards for protection of raptor populations in Wyoming and restoration of prime farmland in Illinois. To view the multimedia assets associated with this release, please click: http://www.multivu.com/mnr/49637-peabody-energy-mines-excellence-in-reclamation-awards-from-u-s-interior (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120807/MM46803 ) (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120724/CG44353LOGO ) Peabody's flagship North Antelope Rochelle Mine in Campbell County, Wyo. – the world's largest and most productive coal mine – was recognized for a multi-faceted approach to sustain populations of eagles, hawks, owls and other birds of prey through creation of high- quality habitat and protection of nesting areas. Nearly three decades of monitoring data confirm that young have fledged each year, and raptor populations successfully have been sustained as mining activities significantly increased. Peabody's Cottage Grove Mine in Saline County, Ill., was honored for soil handling and crop management methods to restore prime farmland, achieving high yields of corn, soy beans, wheat and hay crops that are as good or better than county averages. These results are important given Cottage Grove is located in one of the most productive agriculture regions in the state. Restoration of prime farmland is considered among the highest land uses, yet it is among the most difficult to achieve. "Peabody has a world-class environmental, engineering and operations team that continues to demonstrate leadership in sustainable mining and restoration practices," said Charles Meintjes, Acting President of Peabody – Americas. "I congratulate our team for setting a standard of environmental excellence that consistently delivers the highest and most enduring benefits for communities and stakeholders long term." Peabody's mission statement says that when mining is complete, lands will be returned to a condition that is equal to or better than before mining occurred. In practice, lands are often returned to a condition that is more productive than native range.