Survey says: County gravel deposits concentrated around Colorado River
Garfield County has plenty of high-quality sand and gravel deposits. Unfortunately, they’re in places, notably along the Colorado River, where people don’t want to see mining operations.Representatives of the Colorado Geological Survey presented a report Monday of a survey conducted earlier this year assessing the volume and location of the county’s sand and gravel resources.Over the last few years, the county commissioners hosted contentious public hearings on applications to open sand and gravel pits. They decided a survey was needed to show where such resources are located, to help them in the planning process.The survey showed that the best gravel deposits are along the Colorado River.Last year, a proposed gravel pit on the river near Silt caused months of highly vocal public hearings involving nearby homeowners, and litigation against the county by the town of Silt.The commissioners rejected that application and sought to identify other sources of gravel that might not be so close to homes.”We came out here to help you find alternative sand and gravel resources,” said Colorado Geological Survey geologist Beth Widmann. “The trouble on the Colorado River is it’s environmentally and politically sensitive.”The highest grade of sand and gravel deposits lie along the Colorado River between Silt and the Mesa-Garfield county line just east of DeBeque, Widmann said.The survey also found two areas of high-grade gravel, on Garfield Creek south of New Castle and Divide Creek south of Silt.But a lack of water at those sites would limit sand and gravel processing, Widmann said.Gravels found along the tributaries of the Colorado River also are not suitable for cement and asphalt production, she noted.In other business Monday, the commissioners:-Denied for the second time a request from landowner Jim Mahan for a subdivision exemption on the Black Diamond Road in the Four Mile Basin south of Glenwood Springs.-Discussed long-range plans for the Garfield County Airport with newly hired airport manager Brian Condie. Those plans include attracting more commercial aircraft to the airport and increasing hangar space.-Approved a zone district amendment for Marlin Colorado Ltd. to create a strip of open space between the Prehm Ranch and the Westbank Ranch subdivision. The land, about 0.6 acre, will be deeded from Marlin to the Westbank Home Owners Association.-Awarded a contract for $51,666 to Odyssey Construction to replace a section of roof on the Henry building in Rifle, now a county office building. The roofing material contains asbestos, which must be removed by an authorized company. That glitch almost doubled the price of the roofing project.
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