Natural Resource Damage Assessment
Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District
Mining and smelting sites within St. Francois, Reynolds, Jefferson and Iron Counties in Missouri are located within the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District, an area that was mined extensively for lead and zinc for more than a century. As a result of this mining and related activities, large amounts of metals including cadmium, lead, zinc, and nickel were released and are continuing to be released into Missouri's environment. 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, and implementing regulations, the Director of the Department of Natural Resources (Missouri DNR) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) are Trustees for natural resources in the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District . Natural resources over which Missouri DNR 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 within the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District 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.
Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Process
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 the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District. In June 2008, the Trustees completed the pre-assessment phase for the Big River Mine Tailings Superfund Site and Surrounding Area in the St. Francois County portion of Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District and three sites within the Viburnum Trend portion of the Lead Mining District : Sweetwater Mine and Mill Complex, West Fork Mine and Mill Complex, and Glover Smelter which culminated in two Preassessment Screens and Determinations (Missouri DNR and DOI 2008). In the Preassessment Screens, 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.
In addition to this website, you can learn more about the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District NRDA by visiting the Missouri Department of Natural Resources at (leave this website):http://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/hwp/sfund/nrda.htm
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. Below are links to Trustee reports for the Southeast Missouri Natural Resource Damage Assessment. If you have any questions concerning information found in any of these reports or any other comments related to the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District NRDA, contact us via email.
Viburnum Trend (Sweetwater et al.) Preassessment Screen (108KB .pdf file) June, 2008
Viburnum Trend (Fletcher et al.) Preassessment Screen (588KB .pdf file) March, 2009
Big River Mine Tailings Site Preassessment Screen (220KB .pdf file) June, 2008
Phase I final (2.2MB .pdf file) , January, 2009;
Sediment and Mussel Sampling Plan (113KB .pdf file) August, 2008
Statement of Work: Channel Instability and Sediment Contamination Risk to Lower Big River Mussel Beds (12-page PDF, 168KB) October 7, 2010
Spatial distribution, geochemistry, and storage of mining sediment in channel and floodplain deposits of streams draining the Viburnum Trend Mining District of Southeast Missouri (Aug. 16, 2012) 217KB;17-page PDF
Work Plan to Assist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in identification of the depth of mine tailings contamination of streambed sediments in the Viburnum Trend mining district of southeastern Missouri (2012) 127KB; 12-page PDF
Sampling and Analysis Plan for the Viburnum Trend Lead Mining District Transition Zone Assessment Study (July 2012) 933KB; 43-page PDF
2010 Viburnam Trend Water and Sediment Sampling - Hine's Emerald Dragonfly Survey (11-pages; 155KB PDF)
Big River Long Term Monitoring Methods (28 KB) July, 2010
Study Plan for Crayfish (2.2 MB) January, 2009
Study Plan for Floristic Quality Index (92 KB) January, 2009
Study Plan for Riffle Studies (46 KB) January, 2009
Study Plan for Bird Injury (58 KB) Spring, 2009
Study Plan for Sediment Metal Toxicity (53KB .pdf file) September, 2008
Big River: Assessment of Mussels and Heavy Metals in Sediment (Roberts et al. 2009) Final 12-09 (6.6 MB )
Big River Borrow Pit Monitoring Project by Owens et al. 2012 (3MB; 82-page PDF )
Distribution, Geochemistry, and Storage of Mining Sediment in Channel and Floodplain Deposits of the Big River System in St. Francois, Washington, and Jefferson Counties, Missouri. Final Report June 18, 2010 (141-page PDF; 4MB )
Effects of Metals on Crayfish in Big River, Missouri 2010 (Allert et al.) Final 2010 (526 KB )
Floristic Quality Assessment (5.2 MB ) USGS Final Report 2009
Sediment Toxicity Report (Besser et al. 2009) USGS Final Report 2009 (1 MB )