Fairmount Minerals Ltd. gets conservation awardMAIDEN ROCK — Employees at Fairmount Minerals Ltd.’s Maiden Rock plant received international recognition for their contributions to wildlife habitat conservation at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s 20th Annual Symposium, “20/20 Vision: Celebrating the Past, Looking to the Future.”
MAIDEN ROCK — Employees at Fairmount Minerals Ltd.’s Maiden Rock plant received international recognition for their contributions to wildlife habitat conservation at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s (WHC) 20th Annual Symposium, “20/20 Vision: Celebrating the Past, Looking to the Future.”
The company demonstrated its commitment to environmental stewardship and increasing native biodiversity by achieving habitat recertification at the Maiden Rock plant.
The Maiden Rock mining facility is located on 15 acres of land on the banks of the Mississippi River in Wisconsin. Historically, the land was used for agriculture and was opened to mining in the 1920s. The site consists of plant facilities, a reclaimed mine site and a mature, mixed hardwood forest.
Between 500,000 to 700,000 tons of sandstone are removed from underground mines each year, leaving large abandoned tunnels. Because of this extensive mining, the site is now one of the largest bat hibernacula in the Midwest, housing wintering populations of little brown bats, big brown bats and eastern pipistrelles from Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Thus, a major component of the site’s wildlife management plan is designed to protect this critical habitat.
In cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the wildlife team developed a series of projects to attract and protect bats. Gates were installed in tunnel entrances to allow for bats to pass through, while inhibiting the entrance of predators. Bat detectors, designed by the Wisconsin DNR, were installed in these tunnel entrances to log the time and direction of each infrared beam break. Other openings were blocked, both to increase the accuracy of the detectors and to further block predators’ entry. Above ground, additional bat houses were installed in partnership with local Boy Scouts.
The wildlife team also partnered with Saving Birds Thru Habitat, a regional NGO, to monitor migrating and nesting birds making use of the site. The team also maintained snags (dead standing trees) for habitat and use by bald eagles and other raptors.