BY D’ARCY EGAN
The LafargeHolcim Marblehead Quarry sends crushed limestone it mines from the Lakeside-Marblehead Peninsula all over the continent and the world. For its work in greatly expanding the Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve a year ago, the international company has won the Gold Award for Environmental Excellence.
LafargeHolcim also was given the Bronze Award for Community Relations Excellence. Both awards were presented by The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association (NSSGA).
“We are extremely proud of both awards because they were for collaborative work with the local community and with state agencies in Ohio,” said Rob Hayes, PE, a licensed engineer who is the Great Lakes Regional Environment and Land Services Manager.
At the heart of the awards was an agreement forged by LafargeHolcim officials and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and its Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. It took many months, but in the end its allowed the postage stamp 19-acre preserve to be expanded to 137 acres.
Hayes was impressed in May 2019 when Gov. Mike DeWine and an army of Ohio natural resources and tourism officials joined a crowd of local residents and tourists to dedicate the new property.
“We’ve also had modifications of our mining permit here to allow additional planting of Lakeside daisies as more of the land is reclaimed,” said Hayes. “From all reports, the Lakeside Daisy Nature Preserve has become very popular for both local folks and the many tourists who visit the area to enjoy the Marblehead Lighthouse, Lake Erie and all of the other attractions.”
It is a bit of a juggling act, said Hayes.
“The LafargeHolcim Marblehead Quarry is a working mine, and it has a mine life of at least another 40 or 50 years,” said Hayes. “With active limestone excavation going on, we have to have strict safety restrictions.”
The Bronze Award recognized LafargeHolcim’s efforts to become a community partner, donating time and resources to provide open houses, Quarry Tours for family members of company employees, and tours for K-12 school groups, college students and local geology, mineralogy and historical society clubs.
Hayes says the company has been proactive, from building nesting boxes for waterfowl to looking for fossils as the area is mined. The Lakeside Daisy Natural Preserve flat land also allows hikers to see the unique glacial grooves — like those on nearby Kelleys Island — created by the slow movement of the massive glacier that created the Great Lakes and Lake Erie Islands.
“We have two environmental compliance specialists that audit and inspect our Great Lakes plant sites,” said Hayes. “We have a wealth of wildlife, from bald eagles to white-tailed deer and a wide range of waterfowl. There’s also a drainage easement that cuts through the property and must be maintained.
“The company’s catch phrases has long been that LafargeHolcim has to care, and always be a good steward of the environment.”