Initiatives in the field
29.06.2007

Bringing back the beavers!

The minig and restauration project at the Laurons gravel pit in Manosque in southwest France means that an agricultural zone that was previously farmed at the expense of a rich ecosystem along the banks of the Durance River can now be returned to nature. One year after operations at the gravel pit ceased, the reclamation intended to encourage the establishment of wildlife can be considered a success. Many species of birds can be observed from the two ornithological stations built by Colas Midi-Méditerranée, including red-crested and common pochards, grebes, orioles, kites, kingfishers, and coots.

The 25 hectare wetlands site was also designed so that beavers, a protected species, can recolonize the site. The staggered excavation depths allow for seasonal variations in the river level and are likely to attract them.

Local officials and residents are increasingly wary of the consequences of quarries opening up in their environment. To convince them that the conservation of the natural heritage will be respected in the end. Colas has devised innovative and pro-environmental reclamation projects. The Laurons quarry is a successful example that can be used to reassure interested parties on future quarrying projects.

A path and two observation platforms have been built to enable walkers to enjoy the eco-riches of the Laurons wetlands.

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- colasmm@siegemm.colas.fr