Hanson Aggregates, a subsidiary of Lehigh Hanson, Inc., recently donated approximately 200 acres of reclaimed mining property at its Marlboro Sand & Gravel site in Bennettsville, South Carolina, to Carolina Waterfowl Rescue (CWR), a non-profit wildlife rescue organization that provides sanctuary, rescue and rehabilitation for wildlife, farmed and exotic animals. Carolina Waterfowl Rescue provides care to more than 1000 birds a year covering close to 40 different wild bird species. The donated property will be used to provide a natural and controlled habitat, called a rookery, to rehabilitate injured waterfowl.
Lehigh Hanson is committed to operating in a safe, responsible and sustainable manner. Part of that commitment includes developing reclamation plans for mining sites that include biodiversity enhancement recommendations that align with community needs and have a positive impact on the existing habitats and natural ecosystems. The reclamation of the Airport Mine property at the Hanson Aggregates Marlboro Sand & Gravel site is a great example of this type of reclamation.
Mining activities at the Airport Mine completed in 2012. Per the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) requirements, the property must be reclaimed. Since the area was already a natural habitat for a variety of wildlife, management at Hanson began to explore ideas that would further add to its ecological value.
The Airport Mine’s deposit at Marlboro was predominantly mined using a dragline which created very long, thin and steep finger islands surrounded by water. These finger islands make an excellent habitat for waterfowl due to the inability of predators such as coyotes and foxes to access them. Known in bird circles as a rookery, this type of area also provides an excellent opportunity for birders to observe nests, nesting behavior and young birds, and they are also popular subjects for photography.
Working closely with SCDHEC and CWR, the Hanson Marlboro management team crafted a plan to further develop the former mining area with its natural rookery into a controlled area where CWR could release rescued birds that are still in recovery but no longer need hospitalization. Hanson also agreed to donate the land the rookery occupies to CWR so they can use it for their needs going forward.
“From the very beginning, we knew we wanted to do something very special with this reclamation project,” said Scott Dickson, Vice President and General Manager of Hanson Aggregates Southeast. “What we are doing at the Airport Mine site will not only satisfy our reclamation requirements, but will also provide a significant value to the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue organization and to the community at large.”
“We are excited about Hanson and Carolina Waterfowl’s project,” said Ron Munnerlyn, County Administrator and Economic Developer for Marlboro County. “The Waterfowl Rescue site will quickly become an eco-tourism destination benefiting both the wildlife and local economy here in Marlboro County. This project is further evidence of Hanson’s long standing reputation and obvious commitment to being a good corporate citizen.”
“The land donated by Hanson Aggregates will provide a rookery for nesting birds and sanctuary for multiple types of wildlife,” said Jennifer Gordon, Executive Director of Carolina Waterfowl Rescue. “The collaborative work that has been going on with Hanson Aggregates will provide many future environmental and educational benefits, including the establishment of a destination for bird watching as well as protection of local wildlife habitats and water sources.”