By Associated Press • 

Oregon landowners concerned over proposed pumice mine

MEDFORD — Oregon landowners say they believe a proposed pumice mine could increase truck traffic, bring noise and affect deer and elk habitats in a high-use recreation area.

The proposed pumice sand mining operation would sit on a property owned by RH Holdings LLC, the Mail Tribune reported. The property is along Highway 62, a scenic roadway between Prospect and Union Creek in southwest Oregon, and in the middle of federal forests.

Measures will be taken to reduce the effects the excavation could have on neighbors and wildlife, said land-use consultant Matt Ropp, who works for RH Holdings.

The operation has agreed confine the excavation work to a five-month period after hearing concerns over habitat disruption, Ropp said. The company has said it would designate a third of the property to improve forage by adding special fencing that would restrict cattle from entering, but allow elk calves to pass through.

They also promise to stay away from compaction equipment to keep the noise level down.

“It will be very quiet at the neighboring property,” he said. He also doubts anyone in Union Creek, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) away from the site, would be able to hear the excavation work.

A nearby landowner has submitted an appeal to Jackson County, who has not approved the project. Members of Rogue Advocates, a land-use watchdog organization, are also concerned about what effect the proposed mine could have and will be following the project, organization president Steve Rouse said.

Although Rogue Advocates has not taken a stance regarding the project, Rouse said he is aware of the level of noise that mining operation can create.

Dan Ethridge, assistant district wildlife biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish, has recommended approving the operation.

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