The Cimenterie de Couvrot, located in the Marne department, produced 667,000 tonnes of cement in 2015. To achieve this, it operates a limestone quarry, next to the factory as well as a clay, marl and gaize quarry situated in the communes of Bettancourt‐la‐longue and Vriol. The Bettancourt quarry, put forward as part of the Quarry Life Award, has an authorised area of 99.5 ha. It produces about 350,000 tonnes of materials per year.
The Bettancourt quarry is located in the Champagne wetland region, a rural landscape consisting of clay soil intermingled with ponds and a high ecological sensitivity. It is located in the centre of the type II Zone Naturelle d'Intérêt Ecologique Faunistique et Floristique (ZNIEFF – Natural zone of ecological interest, fauna and flora) "woods, ponds and prairies of North Perthois", the ZICO "Ponds of Argonne" and the RAMSAR zone "Ponds of the Champagne wetlands". The site is also located directly next to the Natura 2000 ZPS "Ponds of Argonne".
The quarry rehabilitation project consists primarily of creating a predominantly open area by conserving wetlands and border hedges. In particular, this project will enable the creation or recreation of favourable habitats for amphibians and reptiles.
The quarry is made up of diverse habitats comprising woodlands, areas of barren vegetation, crops, prairies, ponds and wet grasslands. The grasslands play host to a botanical and entomological wealth and provide habitats for many threatened and protected species.
The main issue at stake was the amphibian population, in particular the yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata). The northern crested newt (Triturus cristatus) can also be found on site. These two species are under threat and protected.
59 species of birds have been recorded at the quarry and in the surrounding area, including the common crane (Grus grus), the European honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus), the little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius), the red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio), the Eurasian bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula), European stonechat (Saxicola torquatus) and the Eurasian wryneck (Jynx torquilla).
Finally, several species of bats were recorded at the quarry and in the surrounding area: The barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus), the greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis) and lesser noctule (Nyctalus leisleri) were some of the bats observed on site. The barbastelle and the greater mouse-eared bat are subject to an extensive regional conservation programme.
Ongoing nature projects:
The initiatives undertaken by Ciments Calcia are as follows:
- Creating temporary and permanent ponds in order to restore habitats for amphibians, in particular the yellow-bellied toad
- Building shelters and terrestrial habitats for reptiles
- Planting hedgerows to create ecological corridors
- Preserving woodlands and hedges
- Implementing senescence islands
- Ecological monitoring of the yellow-bellied toad
In addition, the Couvrot factory has committed to an initiative to promote biodiversity at regional level. The factory's action programme includes, in particular, carrying out naturalistic inventories, implementing environmental preservation activities, sharing knowledge and raising awareness amongst staff, etc.
Finally, the quarry has adopted an SMbio biodiversity management system, which is recognised as part of the National Biodiversity Strategy. It includes identifying challenges to biodiversity, the implementation of an action plan and the regular monitoring of the measures carried out on site.