Sometimes profit seems to be placed above the law and morality. There are other cases of environmental damage in which Vulcan has been involved in other parts of the United States.

You can read something about the record on safety in Vulcan operations, then make up your own mind. A company they own, Vulcan Chemicals, had sales of $642 million in 2001, and operated 29 chemical distribution terminals including 10 that stored HCL (Hydrochloric Acid) within the United States. Vulcan Chemicals produces and transports chlorine, caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, potassium chemicals, and chlorinated organic chemicals.

In a description of one incident at a Vulcan plant in Denver, Colorado, we have an example:

In the mid-1990s, Vulcan regularly stored more than 36,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid (HCL) in railroad tanker cars at a rail terminal in northern Swansea (a suburb of Denver). The terminal was just eight feet from a barbed wire fence that separated the tankers from a playground and the Swansea Community Center. HCL is a corrosive, hazardous material with potentially acute health effects if released. The facility maintained no release-detection systems at its terminal, and emergency response equipment was limited.

On March 29, 1995, at approximately 2:40 p.m., the sole employee stationed at the terminal discovered that muriatic acid (35% of which was hydrochloric acid) had eaten a hole in the bottom of one of the tank cars parked at the terminal. As 3,300 gallons of the substance wafted out of the tanker toward neighboring homes, the employee notified the local fire department. The National Response Center (the US government agency contact for reporting oil and chemical spills ) was not notified until later that evening.

Residents only slowly became aware of the significance of the incident. Some who understood the dangers involved rushed to evacuate family members and elderly residents, but they were stopped by local police, who blocked access to the neighborhood. The fire department did eventually evacuate the area, but more slowly than many people thought reasonable, in part because the crews sent to work on the problem could not speak Spanish.

Only because of extremely good luck, this poisonous cloud of toxic gas, that could have proven fatal if it was inhaled, moved to the east away from populated areas. Many people could have died if not for the fortunate weather conditions. At community meetings later, other issues came to the surface, including the lack of safeguards to both prevent and respond to accidental releases or spills and the failure of companies such as Vulcan to disclose and communicate the risks posed by their handling of hazardous materials,

Initially, the Vulcan and the companies it worked with (who were responsible for the incident) were unresponsive to residents concerns. Nothing happened until a lawsuit was filed, with potential penalties to Vulcan of up to $9.9 million dollars, Only then did those responsible for the incident began to respond. The policies of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) called for the highest level of penalty at $25,000 per day) for the offenses of which Vulcan was accused.

In the mediation (which was an attempt to resolve the lawsuit through negotiation), Vulcan was represented by the manager of public affairs and the director of logistics of its Chemicals Group, as well as two attorneys. The employee who was on site the day of the accident took part in the first meeting. At the outset, Vulcan was primarily interested in protecting its reputation, protecting shareholder value (and not setting a bad precedent) by limiting the settlement amount, and apologizing to community members.

After an initial offer Vulcan made to the plaintiffs ($10,000) was resoundingly rejected, the parties began to draft principles of settlement. The final agreement included a public apology by Vulcan, informing other communities and improving processes to preventive future environmental contamination, improving emergency preparedness, payments to the citizens to purchase land for a public park separating their homes from industrial areas, paying the residents legal fees, and other undisclosed payments. It took nearly 10 years for justice to be done, and for the citizens and their government agencies to force Vulcan into accepting responsibility for correcting the damage.


There is much more than just the problem of an ugly scar being added to our mountains. This expansion would make the already terrible effects on Azusa, Duarte, Irwindale, Glendora and many other cities in the area much worse. If the pit is expanded onto the top of Van Tassel Ridge, the dust pollution that is now somewhat limited inside the canyon, would be exposed to stronger winds, which could carry it directly into Azusa and to many other towns, bringing all the health dangers it may carry.

There is quite a lot of information on this page of our website, but we urge you to read it all. This is extremely important information that has not been provided to all of us who are breathing the dust from these open pit mines. Everything you will read on this website is backed up by references to legitimate sources. At the end of this page you will find Internet links (in blue and underlined) to the reputable websites that are shown here and you can click on each of those links to confirm the proof. The statements presented here can be verified with information from organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency, California EPA, and the American Cancer Society. Or take the issue closer to home and ask your family doctor, or your school nurse about the danger of breathing dust, especially from minerals like crystalline silica.

Because all of them will tell you truthfully that BREATHING DUST IS DANGEROUS! It is one of the most dangerous forms of air pollution, especially when the dust particles are very small, so small you may not even be able to see them floating in the air, those tiny particles are easier to inhale and get lodged inside your lungs.

Now Vulcan has told us how their company is very concerned about this problem, and are doing all kinds of things to try and control this dust, like sprinkling water, running sweeper trucks on the street outside their plant, and putting up signs with a telephone number to call if you see dust.

But we all know none of that is solving the problem. Scientists, doctors and health experts can confirm the danger, but you and I don’t have to be rocket scientists to know where the dust is coming from and that is spreads all over the San Gabriel Valley, throughout our towns and our homes. There is a constant line of trucks coming in and out of the Vulcan entrance at Foothill Boulevard and Irwindale, all shaking off the dust and also spewing out carcinogenic diesel exhaust.

Going in all day

Coming out all day

Giving off lots of diesel exhaust too

The determined little sweeper comes out every 10 or 15 minutes, all day long and sweeps the dust up off the street, but he does not sweep up the center median strip. That leaves tell-tale evidence of how much dust actually escapes from the many dump trucks each day, spreading the deadly dust all over town, city, all over the valley, into our homes and into our lungs..

Dust on Irwindale Ave.

And more dust is generated from loading the trucks, carrying rocks/dust on the conveyor, crushing the rock, and digging it up. An auto painting business owner on Foothill near Irwindale said they have to constantly rewash the newly painted cars to keep the dust from ruining the paint before it can be polished out, recoated, buffed and delivered to their customers. One customer whose office was very close to the Vulcan entrance brought back his car with the new paint ruined by the dust and grit falling onto the paint from the rock crushing operation.

Think about the last time you had your car washed and waxed, then parked it in front of your house. And a day or so later the dust was so thick on it that your husband said the kids were writing WASH ME PLEASE on it.

Think about when you planned that big barbecue party and washed off the patio furniture, then the next morning your wife went out in her new, white party dress and sat down on a lawn chair, and the dress had to be sent to the cleaners because it was so filthy.

Think about getting out that can of spray wax and a dust rag to dust off every piece of furniture in the house before Aunt Suzie and Uncle Albert came to visit, then a day later the dust is so thick on the furniture you can see it, and this is INSIDE your house!

We all know the dust is there because we see it when it falls on everything in town.

Yes, it is true that these little problems are a pain in the neck to put up with. But think about this: How many times do you breathe in 5 seconds? Count it right now. One-thousand one, one-thousand two, one-thousand three, one-thousand four, one-thousand five. Was that about 5 times you inhaled?

Now multiply that times 12 for every minute, times 60 for every hour, times 24 for every day, times 365 for every year. How many times will you breathe in this dust during your lifetime? How much of it is getting into your lungs, the lungs of your family – even indoors, and your children when they play outside? Children are much more susceptible than adults because they breathe faster and their lungs are still developing. The elderly are also in very much more danger from air pollution in the form of dust.

Dust that gets into your lungs, and absorbed into the tissue, is proven to cause bronchitis, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other illnesses.

Bad enough that you and your family have to breathe that dust, but this is not just ordinary dust like you might find along a country road out in the farmland .

This dust contains something called silica or crystalline silica. We know for certain it is there because OSHA, the US government Occupational Safety and Health Administration, requires Vulcan to warn the employees who work in their quarry, their rock crusher, and around the areas where they move the rock and gravel. Vulcan has to issue a Material Data Safety Sheet.

Here you see four pages of information about what comes out of the Vulcan pits in Azusa.

But we need to look closely at the information in these pages. It states very clearly that the dust contains crystalline silica.

It says right here that if your inhale this dust repeatedly, it will lead to silicosis, a fatal and incurable disease:

INHALATION: Dusts may irritate the nose, throat, and respiratory tract by mechanical abrasion. Coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath
may occur following exposures in excess of appropriate exposure limits.

Use of natural sand and gravel for construction purposes is not believed to cause additional acute toxic effects. However, repeated overexposures
to very high levels of respirable crystalline silica (quartz, cristobalite, tridymite) for periods as short as six months have caused acute silicosis.
Acute silicosis is a rapidly progressive, incurable lung disease that is typically fatal. Symptoms include (but are not limited to): shortness of
breath, cough, fever, weight loss, and chest pain.

Prolonged and repeated inhalation of respirable crystalline silica-containing dust in excess of appropriate exposure limits has caused silicosis, a
lung disease. Not all individuals with silicosis will exhibit symptoms (signs) of the disease. However, silicosis can be progressive, and
symptoms can appear at any time, even years after exposure has ceased. Symptoms of silicosis may include, but are not limited to, the following:
shortness of breath; difficulty breathing with or without exertion; coughing; diminished work capacity; diminished chest expansion; reduction of
lung volume; right heart enlargement and/or failure. Smoking may increase the risk of developing lung disorders, including emphysema and
lung cancer. Persons with silicosis have an increased risk of pulmonary tuberculosis infection.

Respirable dust containing newly broken silica particles has been shown to be more hazardous to animals in laboratory tests than respirable dust
containing older silica particles of similar size. Respirable silica particles which had aged for sixty days or more showed less lung injury in
animals than equal exposures of respirable dust containing newly broken particles of silica.

There are reports in the literature suggesting that excessive crystalline silica exposure may be associated with adverse health effects involving
the kidney, scleroderma (thickening of the skin caused by swelling and thickening of fibrous tissue) and other autoimmune disorders. However,
this evidence has been obtained primarily from case reports involving individuals working in high exposure situations or those who have already
developed silicosis; and therefore, this evidence does not conclusively prove a causal relationship between silica or silicosis and these adverse
health effects. Several studies of persons with silicosis also indicate an increased risk of developing lung cancer, a risk that increases with the
duration of exposure. Many of these studies of silicotics do not account for lung cancer confounders, especially smoking.

Sand or gravel is not listed as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the National Toxicology Program (NTP),
or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In October 1996, an IARC Working Group re-assessing crystalline silica, a
component of this product, designated respirable crystalline silica as carcinogenic (Group 1). The NTP’s Report on Carcinogens, 9th edition,
lists respirable crystalline silica as a “known human carcinogen.” In year 2000, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
(ACGIH) listed respirable crystalline silica (quartz) as a suspected human carcinogen (A-2). These classifications are based on sufficient
evidence of carcinogenicity in certain experimental animals and on selected epidemiological studies of workers exposed to crystalline silica.

WARNING: This product contains chemical(s) known to the state of California to cause cancer.

This is not “MAYBE” it contains silica, not “MAYBE” it causes a fatal, incurable disease. It says very clearly right there that IT DOES! OSHA requires that workers exposed to this dust have to wear masks, limit the amount of time they are exposed to it, and be checked for medical problems that it causes. OSHA also says that Silicosis occurs after 15-20 years of MODERATE TO LOW exposure. But nobody warns the people who live near the Vulcan plant and inhale that dust24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without a breathing mask. In fact, Congresswoman Hilda Solis and Henry Waxman had their staff do research on the dangers of the gravel mines and crushers in Irwindale and surrounding areas in 2002 (copy available from SVT). The researchers (who were obviously very frustrated by encountering resistance from the gravel companies and the government agencies who are supposed to watch for problems like this) concluded that:

“It appears likely that the mining operations (in the Azusa-Irwindale area) contribute significantly to air pollution in Irwindale and neighboring communities. But an accurate, comprehensive risk assessment of the effects of the gravel mining operations is currently not possible given the available data…Data on pollutant releases…was not provided or is outdate…Many of the mining operations do not appear to be required to report their air emissions…There appears to be little direct monitoring…Many of the mining operations do not hold environmental permits…Moreover, an average citizen or community group would be unlikely to have access, expertise and time to conduct an investigation…people most directly affected by the gravel mining operations do not have access to any meaningful health and environmental information about a dominant industry in their community.”

How frustrating that must have been to Congress members Solis and Waxman and their researchers, to find out there is a major problem but then get no cooperation from the government agencies who are supposed to be watching out for our health. How much more frustrating it must be for the people who live near this toxic dust generator and have to breathe it constantly, and watch their children come down with asthma, to watch their older family members fighting against lung diseases from breathing this stuff all their lives, to realize that everyone in the city and the valley will suffer as they inhale this poison.

What do medical experts say about silica dust and the diseases it causes? There is a large amount of information that is easily available from very reputable organizations on their websites.

The (IARC) International Agency for Research on Cancer – a part of the World Health Organization – says that crystalline silica, the exact material listed in the Vulcan Material Data Safety Sheet, has been shown to cause a higher death rate from lung cancer, according to the IARC website:

“Seventeen cohort and five case-control studies were repeated on ore miners potentially exposed to silica dust. The majority of these studies reported an elevated mortality for lung cancer among silica-exposed workers.” (“Silica,” IARC – International Agency for Research on Cancer, September 7, 2005.)

The Natural Resources Defense Council, dedicated to protecting the environment and researching dangers and damage from pollution, says that particles (dust) floating in the air and inhaled by people are the cause of increased disease and death, according to many studies published in scientific journals. Their website points out that older people and those with lung problems are at the highest risk for fatal complications caused by dust.

“More than two dozen communities health studies since 1987 have linked particulate pollution to reductions in lung function, increased hospital and emergency room admissions, and premature deaths. Recently, two major epidemiological studies (by the American Cancer Society and Harvard University) were published that showed that people living in more polluted cities had an increased risk of premature death compared to those in cleaner cities.” (“NRDC: Particulate Pollution FAQ,” Natural Resources Defense Council, September 7, 2005)

The California Environmental Protection Agency (CAL-EPA) says that the greatest concern about air pollution is dust with very small particles. These are most easily inhaled into the deepest part of the lungs and can bypass the body’s natural defenses against fighting infection. The people in the greatest danger are the elderly, children and anyone with asthma or other breathing problems. Asthma just happens to be a serious problem for many children in the Azusa schools and it can be caused by toxic dust, or made worse if a child already has asthma.

“Particulate matter pollution consists of very small liquid and solid particles floating in the air. Of greatest concern to public health are the particles small enough to be inhaled into the deepest part of the lung. These particles are less than 10 microns in diameter – about 1/7th the thickness of a human hair – and are known as PM10. This includes fine particulate matter known as PM 2.5.

PM 10 is a major component of air pollution that threatens both our health and our environment.

PM10 is among the most harmful of all air pollutants. When inhaled, these particles evade the respiratory system’s natural defenses and lodge deep in the lungs.

Health problems begin as the body reacts to these foreign particles. PM10 can increase the number and severity of asthma attacks, cause or aggravate bronchitis and other lung diseases and reduce the body’s ability to fight infections.

Although particulate matter can cause health problems for everyone, certain people are especially vulnerable to PM10’s adverse health effects. These “sensitive populations” include children, the elderly, exercising adults, and those suffering from asthma or bronchitis.

Of greatest concern are recent studies that link PM10 exposure to the premature death of people who already have heart and lung disease, especially the elderly.” (Consumer Information: Air Pollution – Particulate Matter Brochure,” California Environmental Protection Agency, September 7, 2005)

The Southern California Air Quality Management District (AQMD) has a document on its website specifically devoted to the danger that air pollution causes for children. The lungs of a child are just developing, and they breathe much faster than adults, bringing in more of any pollution that is floating in the air. Children spend much more time outside in the air containing so many particles of this dust, and they are more likely to be exercising or playing, breathing harder and more often.

“Why are Children More Susceptible to Air Pollution Than Adults?

In many health effects research studies, children are considered as if they were small adults. This is not really true. There are many differences between children and adults in the ways that they respond to air pollution. For example, children take in more air per unit body weight at a given level of exertion than do adults. When a child is exercising at maximum levels, such as during a soccer game or other sports event, they may take in 20 percent to 50 percent more air – and more air pollution – than would an adult in comparable activity…

Children also spend more time outside than adults. The average adult, except for those who work mostly outdoors, spends most of their time indoors – at home, AT work, or even at the gym. Children spend more time outside, and are often outdoors during periods when air pollution is at its highest…

USC Children’s Health Study
Recent results from the Children’s Health Study, conducted by investigators aT the University of Southern California, suggest that children with asthma are at much greater risk of increased asthma symptoms when they live in communities with higher levels of ozone and particles and participate in three or more competitive sports.” (“The Health Effects of Air Pollution on Children,” South Coast Air Quality Management District, September 7, 2005)

The American Lung Association website shows the results of studies which indicate that cities and towns with these very small particles have a 17% higher death rate than areas where the air is cleaner. These extremely fine particles often cannot be seen floating in the air, only when they appear after building up on surfaces like cars and furniture. Even LOW concentrations of these particles result in earlier death for those who breathe in such dirty air.


Particulate matter is the generic term used for a type of air pollution that consists of complex and varying mixtures of particles suspended in the air we breathe…

Particulate pollution comes from such diverse sources as factory and utility smokestacks, vehicle exhaust, wood burning, mining, construction activity, and agriculture.


Particles of special concern to the protection of lung health are those known as fine particles, less than 2.5 microns in diameter. (For comparison, a human hair is about 75 microns in diameter.) Fine particles are easily inhaled deeply into the lungs where they can be absorbed into the bloodstream or remain embedded for long periods of time. A recent study showed a 17% increase in mortality risk in areas with higher concentrations of small particles.

Particulate matter air pollution is especially harmful to people with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Exposure to particulate air pollution can trigger asthma attacks and cause wheezing, coughing, and respiratory irritation in individuals with sensitive airways.

Recent research has also linked exposure to relatively low concentrations of particulate matter with premature death. Those at greatest risk are the elderly and those with pre-existing respiratory or heart disease.” (“Particulate Matter,” American Lung Association, September 7, 2005)

In a recent interview, one of our Save Our Canyon members spoke to Dr. Eugene Roberts, who is with the Beckman Research Institute at the City of Hope Hospital in Duarte. Doctor Roberts is a neurobiochemist, and a greatly respected researcher who studies the effects of inhaled particles (especially silica dust) on human health. His research papers are extremely detailed examinations of how the materials we inhale get into not only the lungs and air passages, but how it can actually get into the brain and central nervous system. When we inhale and smell something, we can tell if it is perfume, or apple pie, or bleach or vinegar, because very small particles of the material are absorbed into the brain as the material passes through the nasal passages right next to the brain. Then the brain reacts to those particles and remembers what that smell is.

In both the lungs and the brain, inhaled silicates cause an actual transformation of the lung or brain tissue that makes it extremely difficult for the organs to function correctly. The research Doctor Roberts has done convinces him that there is a definite connection between inhaled silica materials and Alzheimer’s disease (as well as the already established links with lung cancer, emphysema, asthma, and silicosis). Doctor Roberts commended the SVT group for the work it is doing and expressed his sincere hope that we would be successful in our battle to end this pollution that is ruining our air and damaging our health.

According to a report by the Center for Science in Public Participation, the kind of mining done at Vulcan Materials should not be permitted, because of proximity to residential neighborhoods:

“The following recommendations are made to better manage environmental problems and mitigate the effects of aggregate, stone, and industrial mineral mines.

Deny permits to mines that propose locating in areas unsuited for mining. Mines should not be allowed to operate near Native American “sacred sites,” residential neighborhoods, historic rural communities, or in areas where the resulting “scar” will ruin a scenic viewshed. (“Environmental Impacts of Aggregate and Stone Mining New Mexico Case Study,” Center for Science in Public Participation)
The bottom line: There is a serious question about the safety of the dust floating in the air we breathe every hour of every day. We need to insist that the government agencies responsible for protecting us examine and analyze the dustin the air we breathe, reveal whether it is dangerous, and protect us if it is. Operations that pollute the air MUST completely control their dangerous pollution, or be relocated to isolated areas where they will not threaten the health of such a large number of innocent victims.


Vulcan recently passed out a small brochure at a city council meeting, in which they claimed that if given permission to expand, they would begin restoration immediately on the existing quarry, claiming there would be results within 2 years and complete restoration and regrowth within 5 years. Their brochure showed some extremely imaginative artists impressions of how they think the existing method of restoration (now being attempted in Fish Canyon) would look compared to their proposed method. From that, it looks like we are stuck with either a very ugly canyon forever, or a completely impractical promise for restoring damage to both the canyon and the new 80 acre area.

Their brochure says that the existing plan (shown above and supposedly being used in the quarry now being mined in Fish Canyon, would produce un-natural step-like ridges, very resistant to vegetation. Instead their photo below promises to use contouring to create more natural landforms.

So, how likely is it that this promise will be kept? Lets consider the logic of what they are claiming and look at the track record Vulcan already has right here in Azusa.

First, a little background: On a relatively level surface, a strip mining operation scrapes off all the topsoil, then removes the material that is being mined. When all the desired minerals have been removed, the mine is supposed to be “restored” or “reclaimed”, by replacing the topsoil back on the somewhat level surface, planting and allowing the vegetation to grow back. At one time this process was completely unknown, but now an approved plan for it is required on open pit mines before any government permits are granted.

But what happens when the mine is not on a level surface, but an almost vertical cut which has been made into the side of a mountain? Can you imagine trying to put dirt onto the side of a smooth wall? How much do you suppose would stick? Almost nothing. How could anything grow there?

Azusa Rock Quarry

When the natural processes which formed these mountains restore a sheer rock cliff, it takes thousands and thousands of years. Small plants get a toehold in a crack here and there. They give tiny surfaces for bits of soil and dust to adhere to, which allow slightly larger plants to grow. Water runs off such a steep slope, so very little of it nourishes the plants. It takes an incredibly long time for this process to even begin softening the rock into extremely thin and fragile soil. After centuries of this rock decomposing, there is finally enough soil to support weeds, small bushes, or cactus. Only then does the side of a steep mountain look somewhat like the front face of the San Gabriels we now see. Plants on these dry, south-facing slopes barely survive even today.

Look at the photo below – the existing quarry walls. Way, way steeper than 2 to 1! (actually about 1 to 1) So Vulcan proposed a method for the canyon walls called “Mayan Steps”, named after the huge stepped ledges on Mayan pyramids in Central America. Some soil may stick to the top of those steps which you can see today on the east side of the canyon entrance, but guess what? Any soil and vegetation applied there will not cover the steeply cut surfaces between those flats. We will see only the bare vertical rock between the steps, like what is visible right now in this photograph of the Fish Canyon Quarry entrance:

So, what would happen with any attempt at restoring the vertical cuts now on the sides of Fish Canyon? Do you think it is even possible?. “Green Blackmail” is what a local city mayor used to describe what Vulcan is using by offering to clean up the existing quarry only after they are given permission to start the new desecration. That could be a very empty promise.

The promise looks empty because they have already failed. Vulcan has even admitted in a January 26, 2005 annual report they are required to submit to the Azusa Planning Commission that their revegetation effort was unsuccessful. They needed an irrigation system to even keep the plants alive, and still could not recreate the climate needed for native plants. According to the report:

Condition (Requirement) Comments
Revegetation of each portion of the subject property shall be commenced upon completion of the phase of the quarrying operations for that portion of the property. Revegetation has been attempted as the adopted plan requires. However, the quality of the revegetation plan proved insufficient to achieve the objective. Revegetation of a portion of the east side while using a native seed mix also used non-native trees. An irrigation system was necessary to keep the non-native viable.

Source: Annual Review (Calendar Year 2004) of Azusa Rock Quarry, January 26, 2005.

They have even failed to get approval on the reclamation plan before they began mining, as the state regulations require. If you request a copy of their plan from the state, you will receive one that is marked “Conceptual”, not Final , and is not stamped Approved. They were required to have that done before even starting the present mining pit in the canyon!

There will probably be no restoration or reclamation on either area unless we wait for centuries. Even our great, great, great grandchildren are not likely to see it restored to its original condition.

A number of contractors and engineers (including one who has many years of experience working with the Sierra Club and has seen a lot of environmental and reclamation work) have examined the Vulcan brochure and voiced their opinion that the Vulcan claims for restoring this open pit are just not logical or believable.

Vulcan’s quarry also destroyed a part of the creek in Fish Canyon. Their brochure showed a photo of that portion of the creek which they claim to have restored in 2003:

Fish Creek “Restored”

Fish Creek Natural

But look at the second photo above which shows an undisturbed part of the creek a short distance upstream from the quarry, and decide if their “restoration” is anywhere near the original.

Fish Creek “Restored”
Fish Creek Natural