After sand and gravel resources (aggregates) have been recovered, areas affected by those activities undergo reclamation. Reclamation involves restoring the site to some useful purpose, generally designed to be in harmony with surrounding land uses. Reclamation goals include land suitable for agricultural uses, sites ready for new development (such as housing), open space/recreational uses, and aquatic habitat, just to name a few. Location and extent of the aggregate reserve generally dictate what type of reclamation is most suitable for the affected mine site. Often, aggregates lie below the local groundwater table whereby aquatic reclamation is an appropriate choice.
Gernatt has several locations where aggregate reserves are recovered from below the water. As mining ceases, shorelines are graded to minimize steep slopes. Material from the excavation is normally placed in a way to create uneven shoreline, increasing shallow water habitat, and accessibility. The many shallow-to-deeper water transitional areas increase the diversity of plants and animals that will utilize the site. After shoreline soil replacement, seed is sown to ensure that robust vegetative cover quickly establishes itself over newly graded areas.
Reclaimed water bodies serve many purposes, including habitat for aquatic organisms, reservoirs for groundwater and floodwater/stormwater storage. Non-aquatic species that rely on aquatic resources to survive, such as bald eagles, mink and muskrat, often find these reclaimed lakes to their liking. It is not unusual for species such as these, and many others, to quickly colonize a reclaimed site. There are many instances of aquatic and non-aquatic creatures taking up residence in and around mine lakes even while mining is ongoing.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND EDUCATION
The Gernatt Family of Companies clearly understands its role in local communities. The nature of our industry generally involves long-term land uses that aren’t always common with other businesses. Primarily focused on providing high-quality products and services, we also realize that being involved civically makes good business sense. Sharing with people what we do, and explaining why we do it, helps them understand the industry better. This type of interaction is important in establishing good communication with the community and is very helpful. Having a better understanding of what we do can also help resolve issues that might arise otherwise.
If you are interested in knowing more about what the Gernatt Family of Companies does, contact us to discuss the options available to do so. Would a site visit or a field trip be a good fit for you or your group? If a visit is not the most appropriate choice for your situation, we also offer presentations suitable for the classroom or your group’s meeting. There are many facets of our operations that can be covered in a visit or presentation. What we do daily involves many different curriculums including science, engineering, mathematics, processing, and systems management, to name a few. Our presentations can be tailored to suit most any age group or organization. Most folks have only a cursory knowledge of what goes on in our business, and these visits and presentations can go a long way in educating people about the common, and some not so common, characteristics of the industry.
If you or your group is interested in a visit or presentation, contact us to discuss the options available. Our industry places a very high priority on safety and government safety regulations apply to our guests as well. In addition, because our business is construction related and weather dependent, things can get very busy during certain times of the year. These conditions sometimes limit our ability to host visitors. We will do our best to find a time and location to accommodate your group’s needs.