Gravel mining disturbs residents
Don Minick remembers getting up at 3:30 a.m. on summer mornings to drive to his job in Sacramento, and hearing noise from a gravel operation a mile away from his Red Dog Road home.
“I could hear their (equipment’s) back-up bells and the crushers dropping things,” Minick said of the R.J. Miles Co.’s gravel operation on Nevada Irrigation District property on Steephollow Creek, where it enters the Bear River.
R.J. Miles ended its operations on the site in 1999.
But now, Minick and some of his neighbors are concerned about possible noise and other issues because the NID gravel site will be mined again – this time by Chevreaux Concrete, Inc.
NID’s maintenance and resource committee voted Tuesday to send out environmental documentation called a “mitigated negative declaration” for Chevreaux’s operation.
It’s essentially the same environmental documentation used when R.J. Miles extracted gravel, said NID assistant general manager Ben Barretta.
“If you’re significantly changing what you’ve been doing historically, then further analysis needs to be done,” Barretta said. “But from what I’ve seen … (Chevreaux is) not going to be doing anything different.”
NID directors will decide whether to accept the environmental report at their Dec. 11 meeting.
But NID Director Nancy Weber has already said she’d like a more detailed environmental analysis done – an environmental impact report.
“I think when you remove 200,000 to 300,000 tons of gravel per year, you do have a pretty significant impact,” she said Tuesday.
NID allows gravel companies to remove aggregate from the site for a nominal fee to prevent it from washing into Rollins Reservoir and filling it up.
So much rock and gravel washes down from historic hydraulic gold mines in the Dutch Flat area that the amount removed is hardly noticeable, Barretta said.
Chevreaux employees said their operations would generally be from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Contacted at home Tuesday, Minick said he’d like to see those hours in writing, and promised that he and his neighbors would appear at NID’s board of directors’ meeting on Dec. 11.
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