Limestone pit turned into aquatic haven enhancing biodiversity
2011 saw the publication of the WBCSD-CSI Guidelines on Quarry Rehabilitation, which aims to: (1) ensure CSI members have a common understanding of the key performance indicators on quarry rehabilitation; (2) support the process of quarry rehabilitation; and (3) achieve consistent reporting across members. The CSI Guidelines feature 30 operational case studies covering a wide range of quarry types and local habitats around the world. While quarry rehabilitation, in a broader approach, addresses more than just biodiversity issues, the cases studies outlined focus mainly on biodiversity. Three such cases featured were from the TITAN Group, one of them being the trout pond in an old limestone pit belonging to TITAN America’s Roanoke Cement Company (RCC) in Virginia, U.S.A., as a best practice example for enhancing biodiversity.
The old limestone pit was turned into a pond filled by groundwater inflows and rainfall. Through water-level control, and thus flood prevention, the lake meets the habitat requirements for environmentally sensitive trout. In collaboration with Trout Unlimited, a national organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries, 350 rainbow trout were released into the pond. The initiative demonstrated that this fish could survive in the pond throughout the year, subject to water conditions, by staying in the cooler, deeper parts of the lake. A variety of species now occupy the various habitats within and around the pond, including several different species of dragonfly that require water for breeding, as well as other species, such as butterflies and grasshoppers. Dragonflies are especially important indicators for gauging the health of a trout pond. The trout pond furthermore attracts native birds by providing freshwater, food and nesting materials.
In 2011, RCC won the “Best Quarry” Reclamation Award for the restoration of its old limestone quarry from the Virginia Division of Mining, Minerals, and Energy.
The good-practice example of the RCC trout-pond has also been included, through the WBCSD/CSI, under the case studies presented in the latest publication by the Ecosystems of WBCSD: “Biodiversity and ecosystem services scaling up business solutions” (pages 60-61 for TITAN America), aligned with the September 2012 World Conservation Conference, coordinated by the UNEP/IUCN.
In addition, RCC has now restored adjacent areas to its property, in line with TITAN’s commitment to enhancing biodiversity and demonstrating land stewardship. Manufacturing cement for more than 50 years, the Troutville plant is located in the center of a pristine environment, much heralded as a recreation destination. Roanoke Cement established a right-of-way for hikers to cross its property on the Andy Layne Memorial Trail, dedicated in March of 2001, for the legendary Appalachian Trail hiker. In 2009 the plant was honored with the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for Land Conservation, and ever since continues stewardship of Catawba Creek through annual cleanup activities and preservation. The company was recognized for its dedication, continued open access and upkeep of the Andy Layne Memorial Trail, as well as for continued stewardship of Catawba Creek.