An excavator digs in a gravel pit.

Gravel operation approved between Silt and Rifle

Wet-mining project anticipated to yield roughly 300,000 cubic yards of material

January 19, 2023

Garfield County has approved a land use change permit paving the way for a gravel operation south of the Colorado River and north of Interstate 70, between Silt and Rifle. The major impact land use change was approved to allow wet mining operations at the site that do not dewater (remove water) from the property.

The 57.9-acre parcel, which is owned by IHC Scott, is slated for a 19.63-acre project area and 12.39 acres are planned for excavation. A five-foot tall screening berm is planned for the perimeter of the site. Access to the site is off the Interstate 70 Mamm Creek interchange via the frontage road.

Roughly 300,000 cubic yards of material are poised for extraction in the third phase of the project, according to plans submitted by the IHC Scott. According to the proposal, hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, as well as “some weekends as needed on a seasonal basis, generally April – November.” The Board of County Commissioners approved the operations Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

No nighttime operations or lighting are proposed, outside of exceptions for equipment repair. The winter season was determined by the Board of County Commissioners as Nov. 1 to March 1 for the site.

The Garfield County Planning Commission recommended the proposal for approval with conditions, including hours of operation to run Monday through Saturday, with no work allowed on Sundays. Site development, mining preparation, and actual extraction would take place over a three to five year-window, followed by reclamation of the site, including the creation of a pond.

“There is a very detailed floodplain analysis in their submittals. A portion of the site that will be active relative to the mining is within the floodplain and a floodplain permit has been applied for,” said Garfield County Principal Planner Glenn Hartmann to the board. “Issuance of that permit would be a condition of approval as recommended by the planning commission. The current proposal reflects no impacts to wetlands and a detailed, updated evaluation of mapping and analysis was part of the new submittal.”

County staff conditions included compliance with U.S. Fish and Wildlife recommendations that the pond have no connection with downstream waters of the Colorado River; that visual screening be maintained at the site; and that county and state noise limitations be met.

A waiver to allow a temporary 10-foot encroachment into the 35-foot wetlands setback for maintenance was also approved, provided that the area be revegetated. Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommended winter operations hours be from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., a recommendation that was approved by the board and agreed to by IHC Scott.

“Our word is our bond. When we say we’re going to do something, we do it,” said IHC Scott Vice President Tony Roberts to the board. “Our mission is building a better community and giving back. It’s very important to us.”

The board approved the land use change unanimously, 3-0, with the staff conditions and a requirement that all Russian olive and tamarisk on the site be removed prior active pit operations.