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Lavaca Bay / Alcoa Settlement Reached
Southwest Region, December 22, 2004
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A settlement has been reached between state and federal government natural resource trustees and Alcoa Inc. over mercury contamination in Lavaca Bay. Corpus Christi Ecological Services Field Office NRDAR and contaminants staff have been actively working on this case for over 15 years. Over $50 million has been or will be spent for cleanup in addition to assessment and restoration project implementation costs. This case is one of the largest environmental cases ever settled in Texas.

Under the agreement, Alcoa will implement several restoration projects to compensate for injury to sediment and sediment dwelling organisms, fish and other organisms as well as compensate for impacts to recreational fishing in Lavaca Bay. To restore ecological injury, Alcoa will transfer 729 acres of land comprised of a freshwater lake, freshwater and estuarine wetlands and coastal prairie to USFWS as part of an expansion of Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Alcoa will also create 70 acres of intertidal marsh within and adjacent to the Refuge as well as creating an 11 acre oyster reef in Lavaca Bay.

To address recreational fishing losses, Alcoa will construct and/or expand three boat ramps and three fishing piers in Lavaca Bay. These facilities will improve access and/or enhance fishing opportunities for area recreational users.

The restoration actions were identified by the trustees and Alcoa through a cooperative natural resource damage assessment. Project construction should begin in mid 2005.

Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov



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