EASTERN AGGREGATE COMPANIES FOCUS ON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
We frequently associate great reclamation projects with mines. However, quarries and aggregate operations in the East are just as committed to environmental protection. Here are some examples.
TARMAC SAVES WETLANDS. No other company can say it is more closely associated with aggregate and road construction than Tarmac America. After all, their name became synonymous with a hard road surface.
But, Tarmac is also becoming associated with preserving wetlands and critical ecosystems in Florida. As part of its plans to open the King Road Limestone Mine, Tarmac purchased and is restoring an area adjacent to the mine site to offset any impact of the proposed limestone mine.
The area is part of the historic Gulf Hammock. Hammock is a term used in the southeastern United States for stands of trees, usually hardwood, that form an ecological island in a different ecosystem. Hammocks grow on elevated areas, often just a few inches high, surrounded by wetlands that are too wet to support them. Since the early 1800s, the hammock has been disturbed repeatedly beginning with selective harvesting of specific tree species (such as eastern red cedar for pencils), and more recently, planted pine plantations.
Tarmac intends to thin the trees until they more closely match the density of natural tree cover in the hammock. They will also plant more native species and remove nuisance species.
PROTECTING AN ENDANGERED DAISY. The rare Lakeside Daisy is currently known to exist at only two natural sites in the United States: the Marblehead Quarry in Ohio and in Michigan. The Marblehead Quarry produces approximately 4,000,000 tons of crushed limestone per year. Despite that, the endangered Lakesite Daisy isn’t in danger of disappearing thanks to the Lakeside Daisy Preserve, which encompasses 19 acres of the old limestone quarries on the Marblehead Peninsula of Lake Erie. The Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves works with Lafarge Corporation to protect the Lakeside Daisy within the active limestone quarry. This is one of Ohio’s most spectacular wildflowers. In early to mid-May, its bright yellow flowers adorn the sun-baked landscape of the Marblehead Quarry.
AIRBORNE WITH MARTIN MARIETTA. For Martin Marietta in North Carolina, the word airborne can have a couple of meanings. Army medics from the 82nd Airborne Division, based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, go to Martin Marietta's quarries to rehearse their repelling and rescue techniques. The medics take turns repelling down the quarry's walls to reach dummies that represented injured soldiers. They then work to safely secure their "patients" in special flexible gurneys which, with the help of soldiers above, they then lifted to safety above.
But visitors also fly and drop into their reclamation project at Castle Hayne, NC. Four pits were allowed to fill with water, leaving remnant ridges that are ideal nesting sites for Canada geese and ducks. The surrounding land was seeded with grasses and trees to make a habitat for deer and fox. The Castle Hayne site was honored with an environmental award from the North Carolina Mining Commission.
RECLAIMING A FORMER DUMP. Badger Mining, an aggregate producer in Wisconsin, believes in leaving a site in the same or better condition, even if they aren’t responsible for the damage. When they decided to build a new corporate headquarters, they picked an industrial wasteland that was a former dump for local foundries. There was little vegetation at the site and erosion was a problem for the neighboring wetland.
During the construction process, the company moved 150,000 yards of fill and added topsoil to half the property, some of which wasn’t even theirs. The company made the area a wildlife refuge with a four-acre fish lake and a two-acre wetland. Piles of dirt that had blocked the flow of water from the lake were removed so walleye could begin breeding in the area once again.