Under the proposed action, approximately 1.5 – 2 million tons of sand and gravel would be extracted per year, depending on market conditions. To put that in perspective, the estimated annual aggregate (sand, gravel and rock) demand for the state of Washington in 2000 was 79.4 million tons. These aggregates are vital for road and bridge maintenance and construction, residential and commercial building, and even erosion control and natural habitat restoration.
The site will be divided into six mining areas. Extraction would occur sequentially, with no more than one area undergoing active mining. While one area is being mined, another area would undergo reclamation.
Bulldozers and front-end loaders will be used to place sand and gravel onto movable conveyor belts. These belts will move the materials to the conveyor that will load the barges. There will be no blasting.
The dock will be operated using special approach-and-departure protocols for barges that will eliminate potential impacts from propeller wash. It will also use a motorized electrical system to move barges back and forth while at the dock to load them. This will decrease the frequency and duration of tugboat operation at the facility. One or two barges might be loaded between 7am and 7pm on a typical weekday. The dock will be lighted in accordance with federal mine safety rules, but lighting will be shielded and directed away from residences and directed to minimize illumination of the water.
Glacier Northwest will post bonds to guarantee that reclamation of the site is completed appropriately. After mining is completed in each mine segment, the slopes of the mine will be graded in accordance with a reclamation plan approved by the Washington Department of Natural Resources and seeded with mixed grasses and Douglas-fir. Madrone tree seedlings will also be planted according to the reclamation plan.