May 2008 – State & Province News
An excessive deer population in the Vulcan Quarry in Oshkosh has led local police to make a series of recommendations for thinning the herd. The Northwestern reports that 10 of the 43 car-deer accidents that have taken place in Oshkosh during the last three years took place at the Vulcan Quarry. City Police Chief Scott Greuel made four recommendations: ban the feeding of deer, plant deer-repellent plants, apply for state grant funds, and hire sharpshooters to thin the herd. Public safety concerns have prompted the proposal. Because it will take some time before sharpshooters could be used, the city is said to be considering a mix of lethal and non-lethal responses to the problem.
The state has amended the dredging permit of Hanson Aggregates PMA Inc. to mute loud banging, clanging, and motor noises from its dredging operation on the Allegheny River. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that this is the first time dredging noise has been taken into account by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) when issuing or amending a permit. The new policy has the potential to further restrict how and where commercial dredging operations will be allowed to mine sand and gravel from the Allegheny and Ohio rivers. The amendment prohibits dredging in a 0.7-mile-long section of the Allegheny closest to the River Forest Drive community of homes between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The prohibition extends during the remainder of the year to evenings, weekends, and federal holidays. The DEP issued a dredging permit to Hanson in 2006, but categorized noise from its dredge equipment and engines and barge loading as a “public nuisance.” Dan Giovannitti, a dredging industry spokesperson, told the newspaper that the DEP failed to conduct an independent noise analysis in the area and noted that there are no existing DEP regulations that address noise from dredging.
The Washington state Department of Ecology announced that it had fined three Whidbey Island sand and gravel mines $16,000 each for not submitting reports required by the water quality permit under which they operate. The three facilities include Krieg Concrete Products Inc., Krieg Construction Inc., and Central Whidbey Sand & Gravel. Under the department’s water quality permit, sand and gravel operations must collect and manage their stormwater, using “best management practices.” An official for one of the companies acknowledged that while it had performed sampling tests, it had failed to forward those results to the Department of Ecology.
In early March, Elkhart Lake-based Crystal Lake Crushed Stone Co. presented its reclamation plan to the Sheboygan County Land & Water Conservation Department. However, the company’s plans for the future led to calls for the shut down of the operation, The Sheboygan reports. Nearly 125 people attended the meeting, and many of them criticized the plan for being too vague. The reclamation plan includes three phases, with the mine being closed by 2024. A variety of recreational uses, including a 31-acre lake, are part of the plans, which may also feature some buildings. Kevin Warner, general manager of the mine, told the newspaper that it was premature to finalize plans and said, “You’ve got to leave the door open to opportunities.”
Community growth and resource development appear to be at odds in Woodstock, Ontario, where a proposal for a new gravel pit on the village’s western border is being scrutinized. According to the Woodstock Sentinel-Review, the proposed operation is in the same area designated for village growth. The town is boxed in by rail tracks to the north, the Thames River to the east, and a commercial region in the south. The town manager of community and strategic planning noted that part of the problem is that current housing has been built upon buried gravel, which negates any ability to develop the resource. Provincial policies view sand, gravel, and other aggregate material as a valuable resource that’s needed for economic development, therefore legislation is written in a way that attempts to block development before the material can be extracted.
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