Tri-Valley residents are invited to add their voices to a subsequent environmental review process concerning possible changes in reclamation and mining activity in the unincorporated Chain of Lakes area between Livermore and Pleasanton.
Some of the proposed changes at Eliot Quarry include mining at a greater depth in the Lake B area, which is on the western side of the site and has an active sand and gravel mine pit nearly 150 feet deep, according to the Alameda County Community Development Agency.
Project applicant RMC Pacific Materials -- one of three active mining companies in the Chain of Lakes -- is also seeking to amend the site's current reclamation plan, including redirecting the Arroyo del Valle south of its current spot, rather than into Lakes A and B.
Years ago, the original plan was for mining to take place in Lake A, a formerly mined area on the eastern portion of the site that's been infiltrated by groundwater, but protests from nearby residents put an end to it. Because of potential environmental consequences from the proposed project and an outstanding agreement to eventually acquire the Chain of Lakes for water management purposes like storage and groundwater recharge, Zone 7 Water Agency General Manager Valerie Pryor told the Weekly that her staff will help keep an eye on things during the environmental impact report (EIR) process.
"Zone 7 is concerned with mining deeper and reclamation, and how it relates to groundwater management," Pryor said. "During mining there is silt that's moved around, so we want to make sure the silt doesn't impact our water quality."
"We'd like the county to make sure they really thoroughly study how mining deeper and getting into any other aquifers would impact water quality," Pryor said, adding that staff already regularly visit the current mining operations at the Chain of Lakes and plan to weigh in on the draft EIR, along with other public entities like the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
A public scoping meeting held last week at the Garré Vineyard & Winery Martinelli Event Center was "very lightly attended," according to Pryor, but the community has until the July 18 deadline to comment on the EIR process to the county development agency.
Written responses on the Chain of Lakes reclamation and mining amendment can be sent to: Senior Planner Bruce Jensen at the Alameda County Community Development Agency Planning Department, 224 W. Winton Avenue, Suite 111, Hayward, CA 94544, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org (include "SMP-23 Reclamation Plan Amendment SEIR" in the subject line).