PHOENIX - A volunteer agreement between the Tonto National Forest and Pinto Valley Mining Corporation resulted in the September 10 completion of a project to stabilize soil at the reclaimed Blue Gate Mine within the Pinto Creek watershed.
Pinto Valley provided personnel, equipment and materials to perform maintenance on approximately one mile of Forest Road (FR) 349 in order to reach the project site. Workers installed 700 linear feet of straw wattles, which are man-made cylinders of compressed, weed-free straw (wheat or rice). Wattles are used to form a continuous barrier to intercept water running down a slope and can increase water infiltration and reduce soil erosion.
Pinto Valley personnel also removed the damaged fence and used windrows and debris from recent flooding to reestablish the toe of the Blue Gate repository.
Concerns about post-fire flooding, runoff from the fire scar and resulting environmental impacts resulted in Pinto Valley initiating discussions with neighboring partners in the towns of Globe and Miami to determine ways they could assist the Tonto in the aftermath of the Telegraph Fire. Circumstances resulted in Pinto Valley being the lone company to provide manpower and purchase materials for the project.
Selection of the two mine sites for emergency stabilization stemmed from the Forest Service’s Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) assessment of the Telegraph Fire. The BAER team determined there was a high probability of loss or damage at the Blue Gate Mine and Ellis Vein Mine sites that are adjacent to Pinto Creek. A need for emergency site stabilization and erosion control was identified at both sites, including necessary road maintenance to reach the sites.
According to Tom Torres, deputy forest supervisor for the Tonto, close coordination and a willingness to work together to protect the previously reclaimed mine site resulted in the timely completion of an important post-fire emergency response project.
“This collaborative effort saved time and money while maximizing resources offered by Pinto Valley,” Torres said. “The efforts of forest service personnel at the Tonto Supervisor’s Office and Globe Ranger District along with Pinto Valley’s commitment contributed to the overall success of this project. I am very appreciative of their willingness to assist the forest and surrounding communities in this way.”
Pinto Valley also purchased an additional 960 yards of erosion control fabric and 7,000 linear feet of straw wattles and delivered these materials to the Globe Ranger District for upcoming installation at the Ellis Vein site.