Fountain Creek: New board to get its feet wet overseeing gravel pit operation

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From the Colorado Springs Gazette (Pam Zubeck):

Lafarge West, Inc., wants to dig a gravel pit between Fountain Creek and Interstate 25 south of Pikes Peak International Raceway, and it needs the new board’s approval to do it. The project, which would bring dust, noise and nearly 800 trucks a day, could become a lightning rod that will test the new nine-member Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District board. Board chairman, El Paso County Commissioner Dennis Hisey, said the board will apply tough standards to protect the creek from the mining operation. “We’ll have certain assurances that things are going to be done right,” he said.

But Ferris Frost is skeptical a gravel pit could ever be compatible with the creek. A rancher whose family donated a 915-acre conservation easement opposite the gravel pit site, Frost is concerned about sediment washing downstream, damage from flooding to wetlands and riparian areas, noise, dust and traffic. “We don’t consider it possible,” said Frost, who worked on the vision task force. “I should hope the district wouldn’t allow it. It’s so counter to what the watershed is about.”[…]

Lafarge wants to build an asphalt and concrete plant and a gravel extraction operation on 514 acres next to the creek. The plant would run for 12 hours a day, seven days a week for 15 years, depending on demand, according to Lafarge’s proposal. The company plans interchange improvements and a new road east of I-25 to handle the estimated 780 truck going to and from the site. Lafarge’s proposal gives detailed prescription for reclaiming the land, including replacement of topsoil, seeding and mowing. Lafarge, which has 20 to 30 mining operations in Colorado, has a good track record, said Lafarge spokesman Sean Frisch. “We do a complete job until the reclamation as required is finished,” he said.

The district board has the final say on approving mining within the 100-year floodplain, although the part of the proposed gravel pit outside the floodplain would also have to be approved by the county commissioners. A hearing on the Lafarge proposal will be held at the next district board meeting at 10 a.m. May 29 at Fountain City Hall.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

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