BLOCK (CLARK CONCRETE), VALLEY REATLY AND THE TULLY GRAVEL MINE
Tully Valley is a beautiful and
geologically complex area in Central New York.
Within the valley there
is a ‘moraine’ — a mass of
earth and rock debris carried by an advancing glacier and left at its
front and side edges as it retreats.
There are mudboils — releases for groundwater pressure that dump
one to one-half ton of silt into Onondaga Creek and Onondaga Lake daily.
And a watershed divide between two major watershed drainage basins crosses
the valley along with pristine trout streams that feed Onondaga Creek and
Cranesville Block (Clark Concrete)
Established in 1938, Clark Concrete was a local company that produced
concrete and aggregate for municipalities, NYS DOT and other contractors
. In Fall, 2005 Cranesville Block bought Clark Concrete and has thereby
accepted Clark Concrete’s legal liabilities.
Valley Realty was formed as a wholly owned subsidiary of Clark Concrete.
Valley Realty was issued a mining permit in 1996 to excavate sand and
gravel on approximately 24 acres during the initial permit term of a
138 acre mining facility at the headwaters of Onondaga Creek in the Tully
Valley in Central New York. The permit was issued after more than seven
years of efforts by Clark Concrete to overcome public opposition to the
The Tully mine is on a slope which is at or very near the divide between
two major watershed drainage basins. Mining into the water table could
change the direction of the flow form the Tioughnioga River watershed
into the Onondaga Creek watershed, dewatering private wells, lakes, wetlands,
ponds, and streams in the process.
Mudslides have always been a concern for the mine. In 1993 (prior to
the building of the mine) there was a large mudslide four miles north
of the site.
Despite the obvious geologic instability, the mine was built and in
2002 workers dredging a sediment pond at the site dug too deep, causing
water to leak from the pond through a gravel vein and down the north
side of the moraine. This event caused serious bank and bed damage to
the stream, destroying trout fry and juveniles, disturbing trout rearing
areas, and causing sediment deposition and turbidity in Onondaga Creek.
The area of the mine was historically used for hunting and fishing by
the Onondaga Nation, and is of particular archeological significance.
Despite the location of known Onondaga settlements and camps in the mining
area, no meaningful investigation has been conducted to identify cultural
and historic artifacts, or to determine whether grave sites or remains
might be located therein. Mine operators and regulators continue to avoid
consultation with the Onondaga Nation about these archeological issues.