Vulcan’s Azusa, California facility wins its own reclamation honors while also playing a key role in the reclamation of a former mining site in nearby Irwindale
Vulcan’s Azusa Rock Quarry won the 2019 Other Habitats Project Award, given by the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) for the company’s ongoing commitment to manage chaparral and coastal sage scrub habitat at its Azusa, California site, east of Los Angeles. The program included reclaiming the severe, steep slopes and previously reclaimed large benches of the 100+ year old quarry. The large benches, referred to locally as the “Mayan Steps, were completely transformed into micro-benches approximately two feet deep by two feet high and seeded with native plants and grasses, more closely aligning the landscape with the surrounding San Gabriel Mountains.
The micro-benches were seeded and planted with native plant species characteristic of coastal sage scrub and chaparral, both upland vegetation communities. With smaller benches, the planted shrubs will be able to cover the flat surfaces and grow downward over the front of each bench, which will eventually hide the fact that the slopes are the result of a mine reclamation project. To ensure the habitat restoration will be successful, Vulcan has implemented and will continue to implement a rigorous invasive plant removal and control program, which is designed to eliminate the threat of competition between non-native and native plants. This program is critical to the long-term success of the coastal sage scrub and chaparral habitat restoration program. The dedication Vulcan showed in implementing the non-native plant removal program was recognized by the Wildlife Habitat Council as exceeding regulatory requirements for these types of programs. The Council also recognized Vulcan’s efforts to restore the coastal sage scrub and chaparral vegetation communities on such difficult terrain, which is a significant ecological contribution to increasing the number of acres and quality of native habitats available for wildlife species that inhabit the mine site.
Vulcan acquired the Azusa quarry along with other California operations in 1999, and announced the commencement of development and reclamation on the site in September 2013. The strategically located source of reserves in the San Gabriel Valley contains over 100 million tons of quality granite aggregate, allowing Vulcan to supply critical California infrastructure projects along with housing and commercial development for decades to come.
The project also has supported Vulcan’s redevelopment of a predecessor mining site in nearby Irwindale. The Azusa mining and reclamation project is generating millions of yards of overburden material used to complete reclamation for commercial development of the 90-acre former sand and gravel mine. The Azusa and Irwindale projects have been the culmination of years of cooperative work with the Cities of Azusa and Irwindale, regulatory officials and local stakeholders to ensure that they meet the expectations of the communities, NGOs, and state and local government officials.
The significant investment Vulcan has made in Azusa Rock is consistent with our long-term strategy of securing aggregate reserves in the fastest-growing regions of the United States while also building upon our significant and valuable land holdings in ways that benefit our shareholders, employees, and host communities. The cities and residents of Azusa and Irwindale are benefiting from mountain-side restoration visible for many miles, along with the development of key property at a major intersection serving both cities.