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Cement and aggregate operations depend heavily on the use of natural resources and could have an impact on the biodiversity of flora and fauna habitats. Beyond the conventional environmental impact assessment and rehabilitation plans to reduce or mitigate quarry impacts and the respective monitoring of reclamation projects, TITAN also focuses on site-specific cases, related to endangered species and habitats, and applies specific biodiversity management plans, aimed at preservation and enhancement.

Center Sand quarry: Protection of endangered species 

The Center Sand aggregates quarry of Tarmac America, a TITAN affiliate located in Clermont, Lake County of Florida, U.S.A., is adjacent to a state preservation site. The endangered species is the Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) burrowing turtle that cohabits with other burrowing creatures, such as the Sand Skink. The tortoises have been recently upgraded to that of threatened species and Florida State planning and conservation efforts are geared to eliminating tortoise mortalities during any development program. Under the Center Sand mining plan, since operations would encroach on their burrows, the quarry had to plan and implement the relocation of Gopher Tortoises in a nearby and safe “no-mining” preservation area.

In 2008, having studied the issue in cooperation with specialists and the State of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC), TITAN took action. Equipped with all necessary permits for the intervention and for capturing, handling and relocating the species, the Center Sand then followed scientific guiding principles and standard methodology, including special training, in compliance with the FFWCC Gopher Tortoise permitting system. Guidelines were designed by the State to encourage relocation of animals to protected recipient sites where the tortoises would have a better chance of propagating the species. These guidelines also provide incentives for landowners who qualify for having their land certified as “Recipient Sites” for displaced gopher tortoises, the overall goal being to prolong the survival of the species. In Center Sand, site surveys were conducted to determine locations and identify the type of burrows (“active” and “inactive”) and number of inhabited burrows on the property. A 35-acre (some 142,000m2) nature preserve habitat was created adjacent to the mining property in order to safeguard the Gopher Tortoises’ existence.

The contribution of experts in the field and a specialized scientific crew were crucial in this project. “Hog fencing”, acting as an “eco-friendly barrier”, was created in the ground to protect and contain the tortoises. Pine trees were thinned and/or removed from within the preservation area and the land was reseeded with foraging plants suitable for the turtles. Finally 56 turtles (22 males, 24 females, 10 immature ones) were manually removed from the mining area and placed into their new protected habitat. The safe-zone area will be maintained on a regular basis, with careful consideration for the animals.