Since 1963, the ARESSY industrial site has been used for quarrying sand and gravel. It is used for the production of natural aggregates for construction using concrete and road maintenance.
It is located in the Gave de Pau valley, between Gave and one of its tributaries on the right bank, Lagoin. Situated five kilometres from the centre of Pau, the quarry is part of the urban agglomeration. On the ARESSY site, GSM manages a gravel pit and processing facility connected operationally by a conveyor belt to enable the bulk materials to be transported across the site.
The quarry activity has created a large and deep water body (-10 m on average) over a surface area of approximately 25 ha, a stretch of land of approximately 20 m separates the lake from the Gave. The lake serves as a flood-retention basin and has two outlets: one allows the water from Gave to enter the body of water and the other allows the water to circulate from the lake to the Gave de Pau.
Three types of natural environment exist at the Aressy quarry:
- Stagnant fresh water in the form of a deep lake and the water body's outlet towards the Gave de Pau;
- Open expanses, fallow land and small prairies;
- Wooded areas consisting of ash and alder forests of the mid-European rivers (EU code: 91E0-1), white willow gallery forests (EU code: 91E0-1), ash and alder forests with high grasses (EU code: 91E0-11).
With regard to the fauna, reptiles (the European pond turtle, green and yellow whip snake, green lizard, the common wall lizard, viper aspic), amphibians (common midwife toad, Bufo spinosus, natterjack toad), mammals (European weasel), birds (Kingfisher, Little egret, Black kite) and dragonflies (orange-spotted emerald) can be found on the site.
Ongoing nature projects
Agreement with the Conservatoire d'Espace Naturel d'Aquitaine to establish an inventory and protection programme for the European pond turtle;
Domestic protection of the sand martin;
Combating invasive species (buddleia, Japanese knotweed and bamboo);
Conservation of the riparian forest in the Gave de Pau.