Natural Resources Damage Assessment
Missouri Portion of the Tri-State Mining District
The Missouri Field Office manages two very large mining sites, the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District and Tri-State Mining District, that encompass multiple Superfund sites, thousands of acres of impacted land, and hundreds of miles of contaminated streams. The two mining districts make up the number one historic lead and zinc production areas in the nation, respectively. Managing these cases requires extensive coordination and collaboration with state partners, Department of the Interior Office of the Solicitor, U.S. EPA and the Department of Justice.
Comment Period Opened
30-Day Comment Period for Review of Study Methods: Impact of Metal Contamination on Freshwater Mussels
The U.S of Fish and Wildlife Service is asking for public review and comment on proposed study methods that will be used to evaluate injuries to freshwater mussels from metals contamination in the Tri-State Mining District. The review document is titled "Addendum to the Cherokee County, KS; Jasper and Newton Counties, MO; and Tar Creek, OK, Natural Resource Damages Assessment Plans: Evaluating injury to mussels by metals in the Tri-State Mining District." This addendum provides information on the sampling and analysis planned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service field offices that are developing natural resource damage claims in the Tri-State Mining District.
Addendum to the Cherokee County, KS; Jasper and Newton Counties, MO; and Tar Creek, OK, Natural Resource Damages Assessment Plans: Evaluating injury to mussels by metals in the Tri-State Mining District
Request for Proposals
The Springfield Plateau Regional Restoration Plan has now been finalized and published in the Federal Register. This is a document written by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to guide the process of restoring natural resources injured by the release of hazardous substances. We are now at a stage where we are disbursing funds for restoration. We advertise for projects using a Request For Proposal format.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are announcing a Request for Proposals. With the release of this request for proposals, the Trustees are seeking to restore wildlife habitat and other natural resources in areas outside of the historic mining districts, but within the same ecoregion, the Springfield Plateau. Natural resources have been injured by the release of hazardous substances from ASARCO’s operations in Jasper and Newton Counties, MO.
A public meeting was held at Missouri Southern State University’s Billingsly Student Center in Joplin, MO, on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015.
Request For Proposal Awards
The Restoration Plan describes and explains options for restoring natural resources that were harmed by mining operations in the Springfield Plateau of southwest Missouri.
FINAL - Springfield Plateau Regional Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment
DRAFT - Springfield Plateau Regional Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment
Commercial mining began about 1848 in Newton County, Missouri and moved westward into Kansas and southward into Oklahoma. Commercial smelters were used in all three states. At first, lead was of primary interest; however, the ore was rich in zinc deposits and zinc production became increasingly important over time.
The Tri-State Mining District (Tri-State) spans portions of the states of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. The Missouri portion includes Barry, Christian, Greene, Lawrence, Jasper, and Newton Counties.
Tri-State is the fourth largest historic producer of lead and the number one historic producer of zinc within the United States.
As a result of these mining and related activities, large amounts of metals, inlcuding cadmium, lead, and zinc, were released released into Missouri's environment, and these metals continue to be released. Cadmium, lead, zinc, and other metals associated with mining are potentially toxic to a wide variety of plants and animals.
Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, the Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) are Trustees for natural resources in the Missouri portion of the Tri-State Mining District. Natural resources over which MDNR and DOI exercise trusteeship include surface waters (rivers, lakes, streams, etc.), ground water, soils, air, plants, and animals.
As Trustees, the State of Missouri and DOI serve as stewards for these resources and have the authority to assess whether the resources and their services have been injured as a result of release(s) of hazardous substances. Injuries to natural resources can occur if the resources are exposed to concentrations of hazardous substances that are high enough to cause specific adverse effects. For example, injuries can occur if lead and/or zinc concentrations in surface waters are so high that relevant water quality criteria are exceeded. Plants and animals are injured if they die, cannot reproduce normally, become sick or are otherwise negatively affected as defined under relevant laws and regulations.
The process through which the Trustees evaluate injuries to natural resources associated with the release(s) of hazardous substances and determine appropriate compensation for those injuries is called natural resource damage assessment and restoration (NRDAR). DOI promulgated and published NRDAR regulations in the Federal Register (43 CFR Part 11.). These regulations provide procedures by which trustees can identify natural resource injuries, quantify those injuries, determine appropriate compensation (damages) for the injured resources and the services they provide, and restore those injured resources. The NRDAR process includes a number of different steps, specifically:
DOI and the State of Missouri have begun a NRDAR for portions of Tri-State. The Trustees have completed the pre-assessment phase for both the Jasper County and the Newton County Mine Tailings Superfund Site. In the PASs, in accordance with applicable regulations, the Trustees concluded that further investigation and assessment of natural resource injury and damages was warranted at the Sites described above. 43 C.F.R §§11.24 and 11.25.
Trustee Resolutions: Trustee resolutions are decision documents relating to how the funds from our NRDA claims are spent.
Natural Resource Damage Assessment Contacts and Reports
During the NRDAR process, the Trustees create a number of key documents which are released to the public for review and comment. If you have any questions concerning information found in any of these reports or any other comments related to the Tri-State NRDA, contact us by email.
Reports and Study Plans
Notices of Intent to Conduct Assessments