Imerys, Transform to perform

Montpothier quarry (Aube), France — Enhancing biodiversity as part of the rehabilitation of the Montpothier site


Sustainable development

Montpothier quarry (Aube), France — Enhancing biodiversity as part of the rehabilitation of the Montpothier site


The “Montpothier” quarry was used for open-cast refractory clay mining until 1998. The former quarry is located 10km North of Nogent-sur-Seine in the Aube departement.
In 1998, the site was rehabilitated in several stages: on one hand, land was reshaped; on the other, water surfaces were developed.

The site has been Znieff classified since 2000 but recognized for its ecological content since 1990. Since the site was closed, new environments have developed, enabling a first-class ecological heritage to thrive. IMERYS intends to protect and foster that heritage.

A partnership was formed with the Champagne Ardenne natural heritage conservatory to manage the site. Since 2007, the conservatory has taken care of the site’s maintenance, enhancement and scientific monitoring.
Environments of high ecological value were listed and maintained where necesssary:

  • Temporary, shallow ponds form on piles of clay tailings, hosting several amphibian species.
  • pioneer lawns develop on an acidic substratum with a good water supply and contain protected species.
  • cladium, a type of reed that grows on alkaline substrates in shallow water, developed on the edges of a channel and is a habitat favored by insects.
  • zones with little or no vegetation foster the development of pioneer moss species, forming a habitat for reptiles and insects; located on slopes, fill zones or scree from the former quarry.

The inventory carried out in 2007 revealed exceptional flora and fauna content. More than 260 plant species were identified, including 11 of heritage interest and 180 animal species, including 35 of heritage interest.

As regards flora, the Montpothier site is the only known site in Aube for the fringed fescue (grass), mosses such as Gymnostomun calcareum, Pottia caespitosa and the second site for the burnt orchid.

For fauna, reptiles and amphibians listed in appendix to the fauna-flora habitat directive are present, such as the crested newt and the green lizard.
16 bird species on the red list of endangered nesting species have been identified, including the European nightjar (bird directive appendix I) and Cetti's warbler.
Bechstein’s bat, which has European priority protection status, is also present.

A further inventory is to be done in the coming months.

  • Champagne Ardenne natural heritage conservatory (CPNCA)
  • Champagne Ardenne region, Champagne Ardenne regional council
  • Seine Normandie water agency

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