A.M. Welles DSL Pit Expansion

A.M. Welles, Inc. has applied for, and successfully obtained an amendment to DEQ opencut mining permit OC# 674. A.M. Welles also applied for and obtained a two-year renewal of Montana DNRC gravel permit G-1273-94. In both the DEQ opencut amendment, and the renewed DNRC permit, approximately 23.2 acres was added to the previously permitted area.

Prior to disturbing the project area, MEPA must be conducted in accordance with Montana State law.

The DSL gravel pit is located 2.3 miles north of Ennis and has been permitted with DNRC, previously the Department of State Lands for over 40 years.  A.M Welles proposed expansion includes a reclamation plan that would incorporate the site with the surrounding native environment as seamlessly as possible.

The day-to-day operations of this pit would remain consistent to current operations. The difference between what is currently authorized and what is proposed, is the addition of 23.2 acres of undisturbed ground to the permit area, a majority of which would not be mined, but rather used for topsoil storage and reclamation purposes. The proposed expansion would allow the operator to finish mining the gravel resource then begin to properly reclaim the mine area.

The berm along the eastern boundary of the pit would remain in place during mining operations. It conceals the mine and contains potential runoff from leaving the pit and entering the valley below. Once mining has concluded and final reclamation is set to occur, the berm would be mined and removed. This would be done to incorporate the reclaimed mine area with the natural topography surrounding the mine area.

The proposed action does not include authorization for the proponent utilize an asphalt plant. Per the stipulations of the DNRC permit, A.M. Welles must request permission to operate an asphalt plant on a case-by-case basis. Any request for an asphalt plant will be analyzed and evaluated in accordance with the Montana Environmental Policy Act.

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Public Hearing Recording

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation hosted a public hearing on the proposed expansion of the A.M. Welles DSL Gravel Pit on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, beginning at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria of Ennis Schools located at 223 Charles Street, Ennis, MT 59729.

The purpose of the public hearing was to take testimony on the proposed action to expand the gravel pit by approximately 23 acres. A hearings officer presided over the public hearing and recorded public comment as part of the DNRC environmental assessment of the proposed action. Testimony was strictly limited to two minutes per person.

Audio Only File Download

Next Steps

Oral testimony from the public hearing, written comments, comments submitted via email, and comments submitted during the 30-day public comment period open from Oct. 24 - Nov. 25, 2022, will be addressed in written form in the final environmental assessment. The final environmental assessment serves as the decision document for the Department to prevent or allow the proposed action from proceeding.




Questions? Please reach out to the Minerals Management Bureau.

Trevor Taylor
Minerals Management Bureau Chief

Zack Winfield