FINAL RESTORATION PLAN AND
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT:

CHARLES GEORGE LAND RECLAMATION TRUST
LANDFILL SUPERFUND SITE

Table of Contents

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2.0 Restoration Actions and Alternatives

In developing the RP/EA, the Trustees were required to consider a reasonable number of possible restoration alternatives (43 CFR, Section 11.81, DOI Natural Resource Damage Assessment Regulations). Chapter 2.0 explains the criteria for identifying alternatives (Section 2.1), describes Alternative A - No Action (Section 2.2), and Alternatives B through F- Other Action Alternatives (Sections 2.3 through 2.7). The proposed restoration actions are identified in Section 2.8.


2.1 Criteria for Identifying the Proposed Restoration Actions and Alternatives

The Trustees’ objective is to compensate for impacts to groundwater, wetlands, migratory birds that use wetland habitat, and migratory fish in the Merrimack River. The Trustees will ensure that restoration funds are used to provide the maximum benefit for Trust Resources (maximum benefit is stipulated since the damage settlement was insufficient to provide complete restoration), and ensure that the project provides benefits to Trust Resources in perpetuity. The criteria used to evaluate the alternatives are listed in Table 1. These criteria were developed by the Trustee Council and were based on the DOI Natural Resource Damage Assessment Regulations for factors to consider when selecting alternatives [s. 11.81].

 

2.2 Alternative A: No Action

Under Alternative A, no action would be taken to restore resources injured due to contamination from the Site.

Specific Projects

No projects would be conducted under this alternative.




Table 1. 1Criteria for selecting restoration sites to compensate for environmental injury caused by the Charles George Landfill.


A. Extent to which the alternative restores, replaces, or enhances the natural resources that were injured.
* Priority will be given to projects which most closely restore or replace the values of the natural resources injured. For example, if emergent marsh was injured, then a project which restores or replaces the values of emergent marsh would be given priority. Second consideration would be given to improving existing emergent marsh, and lastly to acquisition or protection of emergent marsh.

B. Proximity to injured resources.
* Priority will be given to projects which are closest to the location of injury. Specifically, priority will be given to projects within the immediately impacted area in Tyngsborough and Dunstable, and secondly to the rest of Tyngsborough and Dunstable. Projects beyond this area may be considered if the restoration cannot be accomplished within the Towns of Tyngsborough or Dunstable, or if there are projects that will provide a greater environmental benefit relative to the injured resources outside of Tyngsborough or Dunstable. Projects outside the Commonwealth and outside the Merrimack River watershed will not be considered.

C. Cost effectiveness of the alternative.
* Priority will be given to projects which provide the greatest environmental benefit for the least cost in comparison to other proposed projects.

D. Extent to which the alternative will enhance the public's ability to use, enjoy, or benefit from the natural resources.

E. Extent of ecological benefit to the public.

F. Extent that the alternative provides an opportunity for community involvement to continue after the Trustee Council's involvement has ended.

G. Extent to which the project is expected to be successful.

H. Compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.

1 Criteria are not listed in order of priority.



2.3 Alternative B: On-Site Wetland Restoration

On-site wetland restoration projects include capping contaminated portions of wetlands, dredging contaminated areas of wetlands, converting upland areas to wetland, removing erosion deposits from wetlands, and enhancing existing wetland values by eradicating common reed (Phragmities australis) and/or purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).


Specific Projects

Sediment Capping:

Surface water and sediments in approximately 14.5 acres of Flint Pond Marsh were contaminated with PAHs and metals (primarily arsenic) above biological effect levels (USFWS 1992). Approximately 3.0 acres of the Dunstable Brook system were contaminated with PAHs and metals above biological effect levels (Holcomb 1990). Contaminated sediments could be capped with clean material.

 

Contaminated Sediment Removal:

Flint Pond Marsh and Dunstable Brook could be restored by removing contaminated sediments. Excavated sediments could be remediated by various treatment techniques and returned to the site or deposited in an appropriate landfill. Removal of contaminated sediments is often an expensive alternative; removal and disposal of 2.75 acres of highly contaminated sediments in Dunstable Brook and Flint Pond Marsh was estimated to cost $3,656,803 (Holcomb 1990).

 

Wetland Creation:

On-site uplands could be converted to wetlands. Upland adjacent to Flint Pond Marsh or adjacent to the landfill could potentially be available for wetland creation. Typical costs for creating wetlands vary between $25,300/acre and $77,900 per acre, depending on the type of wetland being constructed (King and Bohlen 1994).

 

Erosion Sediments Removal:

Sediments could be removed from 2.0 acres of wetlands adjacent to the landfill and from 3.0 acres along Dunstable Brook that were impacted by erosion from the capping of the landfill. Since 1990, when these sites were assessed (Holcomb 1990), the disturbed sites have revegetated. Although the sites are altered from their original condition, excavating the eroded material after this relatively extended period of time would only serve to redisturb the sites, including the upland areas adjacent to the wetlands due to the entry of heavy equipment.

 

Management of Invasive Vegetation (Common Reed and Purple Loosestrife):

Partial restoration of lost natural resource values could be accomplished by managing stands of common reed and purple loosestrife. Purple loosestrife is present in dense stands in Flint Pond Marsh and the wetlands adjacent to the landfill, which has degraded the habitat for some migratory birds. Common reed is present in discrete patches, but these patches could expand. Potential measures to control common reed and purple loosestrife include manipulating water levels, applying chemicals, cutting, mowing,

 

mulching, and biological control (release of insects that feed exclusively on the nuisance plant) (Malecki et al. 1993; Tiner 1998).

 

Redirection of Route 3 Runoff:

Water quality enhancement of Flint Pond may be improved by redirecting highway runoff from Route 3 into detention ponds before it is discharged into Flint Pond Marsh. Detention basins can serve to remove nutrients such as phosphorus, as well as oils, heavy metals, and suspended solids (Chan et al. 1982). Presently there are five cross culverts that collect water from Route 3 and then empty into Flint Pond; two empty directly into Flint Pond and three discharge into unnamed streams that flow into Flint Pond (C. Mizioch, Massachusetts Department of Highways, pers. comm.). This runoff contributes salts, petroleum, and phosphorus to Flint Pond Marsh and Flint Pond. The Massachusetts Department of Highways (MassHighways) is presently planning the expansion of Route 3 through Tyngsborough, which provides the opportunity to revisit the issue of stormwater drainage to Flint Pond. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires that stormwater receive treatment, such as through a detention basin, before being discharged into a natural waterbody (David Buckley, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protecton, pers. comm. citing the Stormwater Management Handbook by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, March 1995). Communications with the MassHighways have indicated that the present plans are to construct two detention basins and direct stormwater into the detention basins or roadside ditches, with the exception of one cross-culvert from the Charles George Landfill, which is expected to remain a direct discharge. The Trustee Council does not have the authority to alter the drainage or to require MassHighways to alter the drainage, however, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service serves as an advisor to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on wetland dredge and fill permits and will continue to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and MassHighways to address this issue.

2.4 Alternative C: Off-Site Wetland Restoration

An extensive search was made within the Town of Tyngsborough for suitable off-site wetland restoration sites using National Wetlands Inventory Maps and aerial photography, as well as through solicitation of suggestions from citizens and the Town of Tyngsborough Conservation Commission. Wetland restoration is defined here as wetland creation (excavating upland to create wetland), or wetland enhancement (improving a wetland that has been degraded in some way such as by fill, poor water quality, or invasion by non-native vegetation). An upland site that is a candidate for wetland creation must have access to water and already be disturbed such that quality upland habitat is not sacrificed to create wetland.


Specific Projects

            Sandpit on Groton Road adjacent to Massapoag Pond: This site is an inactive sandpit with a small, shallow pond (less than one acre in size). The presence of the pond suggests that the water table is not far from the surface, however, the actual availability of water would require further study. The total site is 38.77 acres in size. The area that might be available for conversion to wetland because of topography is about five acres. To avoid having wetland surrounded by denuded upland, a large area of upland would also need to be restored for the site to provide quality wildlife habitat. We have been unable to contact the owners of this site, therefore, the availability of the land for purchase is not known. The site is zoned residential. The location of this site is shown in Figure 4.

          
Sandpit on Red Gate Road/Dunstable Road/Brook View Circle: This site is approximately 7.5 acres in size and is surrounded by residences except for the west side which abuts Dunstable Brook. The site is owned by eight different landowners whose lots incorporate a portion of the sandpit. About two-thirds of the site is already wetland that developed after the site was excavated to the water table. The wetland area has varying degrees of vegetative development but the site is dominated by exotic invasive plants such as purple loosestrife, common reed, autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata), and honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos). The other one-third of the site is upland with relatively little vegetative development. However, investigation of the water table indicated that even in the upland area the water table is relatively shallow (within two feet of the surface). A soil berm exists between Dunstable Brook and the site. Wetland restoration on the site could include some combination of the following: increasing the amount of wetland on the site by excavating upland, creating vegetated upland buffer zones around the site, increasing the depth of surface water in some portions of the site, breaching the berm adjacent to Dunstable Brook to increase flooding of the wetlands, controlling nuisance non-native vegetation, establishing cavity trees, and improving nesting opportunities for wood turtles. Since the original investigation into this site, some of the landowners decided that they did not want to participate in the restoration, making the project unviable. The location of this site is shown in Figure 5.

            Brox Industries Pond behind Town Highway Department on Kendall Road: The site is an inactive sandpit with a small pond (about five acres in size). The presence of the pond, and hence, water on the site, indicates that it could be possible to develop wetlands adjacent to the pond. However, further study would be required to determine the actual availability of water and the amount of upland that could be converted to wetland. The pond also has a dense growth of common reed which could be managed as part of the restoration. The total site is 63 acres in size and is zoned industrial. A large area of upland restoration would be needed to make the site valuable wildlife habitat. The Trustee Council contacted a representative for the landowner who indicated that this site was not available for purchase. The location of this site is shown in Figure 5.
Middle School Site on Westford Road: The site is an inactive sandpit with Bridge Meadow Brook flowing through it. Some areas of the site that were excavated to the water table have revegetated over time and are not suitable for restoration. However, two small areas still remain in an early successional state (i.e., limited vegetative development), and could be enhanced through excavation to increase depth and aerial coverage of surface water, and to encourage the development of a diversity of vegetation. The early successional area on the north side of the brook is about one acre in size and and the area on the south side of the brook is about one and one-half acre in size. The site is owned by the Town of Tyngsborough. The availability of the areas for restoration will not be clear until the plans for the school are completed. The location of this site is shown in Figure 6.


2.5 Alternative D: Acquisition of Equivalent Resources

Acquisition of equivalent resources entails the purchase and protection in perpetuity of wetland and/or upland habitats.


Specific Projects

            Brox Industries Property on Flint Pond, Kendall Road, Tyngsborough: The site is an inactive sandpit that is about 38 acres in size. Much of the site is upland, mostly unvegetated sandpit. The water table in the disturbed upland area is likely too deep for wetland creation to be feasible. Habitat enhancement of the upland is possible and would require spreading substantial amounts of topsoil and replanting. The enhancement would help support the habitat value of adjacent Flint Pond and wetlands. To the south of the upland sandpit, wetland was created by excavation of sand below the water table. With time, the wetland area has revegetated into a diverse complex of habitats. Enhancement opportunities within the wetland are limited. Acquisition of this property would serve to protect a buffer zone along Flint Pond from any potential development threats and could provide public access. Wildlife use of the site should include a variety of mammal species and the emergent and scrub-shrub habitats would be expected to be used by waterfowl and wading birds. Forest adjacent to wetland can provide nesting habitat for wetland bird species such as black duck, wood duck, and belted kingfisher as well as birds specific to riparian environments such as northern waterthrush and yellow warbler. A variety of frogs species would be expected to use the wetlands of the site as well as Flint Pond. The sandpit area likely provides nesting habitat for painted turtle and snapping turtle. Based on two conversations with a representative for the landowner, we understand that the owner is not seeking to sell this property. The location of this site is shown in Figure 3.
Elkareh Property on Kendall Road, Tyngsborough: This property is 27 acres in size and has substantial frontage on Flint Pond. The frontage on Kendall Road is located across from Bryant Lane. This property is entirely wooded with one small pocket of scrub-shrub wetland fed by an intermittent drainage that then flows to the pond. Based on the foot trails running throughout the site it appears that the site already receives some public use. The Elkareh’s have plans to subdivide the property if it is not purchased by the Trustee Council. This property provides habitat primarily for migratory songbirds of upland forest and of forest/wetland edge, as well as mammals of upland and riparian habitats. The property also serves as a substantial buffer for Flint Pond. The location of this property is shown in Figure 8.


            Regonini Properties on Red Gate Road, Tyngsborough: These properties consist of two abutting parcels. One parcel consists of approximately 25 acres of forested upland and the other parcel consists of approximately 11 acres of emergent wetland associated with Dunstable Brook. This site abuts the Red Gate Road/Dunstable Brook/Brook View Circle site referred to in section 2.5. The upland forest on the site would be expected to be used by a variety of mammals and migratory songbirds. The emergent wetland along Dunstable Brook, although heavily vegetated by purple loosestrife, provides habitat for beaver, and potentially or black duck and wood duck, as well as many songbird species. The forested edge provides potential nesting habitat for black duck, wood duck, and belted kingfisher, as well as mammals of riparian habitats such as otter and mink. A section of Dunstable Brook, adjacent to the sandpit, was apparently excavated at one time, which created a couple of deep ponds. These areas appear to be serving as hibernaculum for wood turtles, of which a number have been sighted on the property. The wood turtle has been designated as a Species-of-Special Concern by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Since the Draft RP/EA, Ms Regonini has decided not to participate. The location of the properties is shown in Figure 7.
Larter Property on Dunstable Road, Tyngsborough and Dunstable: This property is approximately 113 acres in size; 8.5 acres along Dunstable Road are located in the Town of Tyngsborough and the remainder of the property is located in the Town of Dunstable. The property is located across the road from the Charles George Landfill, and is north and adjacent to the Regonini Properties on Red Gate Road. Most of the property is active cow pasture that is divided by stone walls and hedgerows. Dunstable Brook runs through the property creating some emergent marsh and wet meadow habitat. Because of the patchiness of the habitat on this property, it is expected to provide habitat for an exceptional diversity of songbirds. It also provides habitat for upland game birds like ruffed grouse and American woodcock. A portion of the property could probably be managed for grassland birds such as meadowlark, bobolink, Savannah sparrow, and grasshopper sparrow. No bluebirds have been observed on the site so the site could potentially benefit from bluebird boxes. The property also likely provides habitat for white-tailed deer (particularly for grazing), eastern cottontail, numerous small mammals, and hunting areas for fox and coyote. Since the property abuts the Regonini Properties it likely also is utilized by wood turtles. A portion of Dunstable Brook running through the property was impacted by the landfill. The location of this property is shown in Figure 9.

            Elkareh Property on Dunstable Road, Tyngsborough and Dunstable: This property is 27.5 acres in size; 2.5 acres along Dunstable Road are located in the Town of Tyngsborough and the remainder of the property is located in the Town of Dunstable. The property is located across the road from the Charles George Landfill and north and adjacent to the Larter Property on Dunstable Road. Dunstable Brook originates on this property and was impacted by leachate from the landfill. The property is entirely wooded with a steep hillside that offers a view from the top. The hillside facing Dunstable Road was recently logged and thus provides patches of early successional woodland. This tends to increase the diversity of songbirds utilizing the site and provides foraging habitat for white-tailed deer.

The more mature portions of the forest provide a block of habitat for species that prefer mature forest such as ovenbird, red-eyed vireo, eastern wood-pewee, wood thrush, and scarlet tanager. The large, mature oak trees on the property produce acorns which serve as excellent food for species like white-tailed deer and turkey. A small brook flows down the hillside, converging with Dunstable Brook. This brook system could provide habitat for the northern dusky salamander and the two-lined salamander. The location of this property is shown in Figure 10.
Larter Property on Main Street, Dunstable: This property is approximately 91 acres in size. The frontage of the property, about a quarter of the land, is primarily old field with scattered cedar, juniper, and hawthorn. Many songbird species would be expected use this habitat including song sparrow, chipping sparrow, cardinal, gray catbird, rufous-sided towhee, and bluebird. This area could be kept open through active management such as mowing or pasturing. The rest of the property is mixed forest with one large depression and some small drainages throughout. The forested area provides habitat for migratory songbirds that use forest interior habitats and many of the mammal species that inhabit the region. The location of this property is shown on Figure 11.
Japp Property on Lowell Street, Dunstable: This property is approximately 30 acres in size and abuts the Elkareh Property on Dunstable Road at its southeast corner. The parcel is completely wooded and has a small drainage flowing through it. This property likely provides habitat for migratory songbirds of forested habitats including forest interior species such as the

the ovenbird, wood thrush, veery, eastern wood-pewee, and scarlet tanager. It also likely provides habitat for most of the mammal species inhabiting the region. The location of this property is shown in Figure 12.
Greene Property on Scribner Road, Tyngsborough: This property is approximately 75 acres in size, and is mostly forested. This property is located on the Dunstable Town line. To the west and north, in the Town of Dunstable, the Greene property is abutted by conservation land owned by the Town of Dunstable and the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife (MDF&W). With the purchase of the Greene Property a contiguous block of approximately 180 acres would be protected. The Town of Tyngsborough had the First Right of Refusal in purchasing this property and only a 120-day window to make the decision. The purchase price was 1.4 million dollars. The Town voted on March 28, 2001 to purchase the land. However, this purchase was a stress on the Town and they will be looking for various methods of financial assistance. The approximate location of this site, as well as the adjacent protected land is shown in Figure 13.
Bell Property on Locust Avenue, Tyngsborough: This property is approximately 62 acres in size and includes Locust Pond, which is an impounded area of stream. The site is bordered by Locust Avenue and light residential development to the northwest, and Route 3 to the southwest. The other half of the perimeter is bordered by dense development. The pond is mostly open water with no emergent marsh development. The upland is all forested. The habitat quality of this site is limited by the development surrounding it, however, it should provide at least transient habitat for aquatic mammals such as beaver, otter, and mink, and many of the upland mammals and migratory songbirds of forested habitats. The location of this property is shown in Figure 14.
Woodward Property on Danforth Road, Tyngsborough: This property is 22 acres in size and borders Halfmoon Meadow which is a large emergent marsh. This property is bordered to the east by about 69 acres of property owned by a land trust, the Trustees of Reservations. Adjacent to the Trustees of Reservations land is 41 acres owned by the Town of Tyngsborough, the New England Power Company, and the Tyngsborough Association. The Woodward Property is completely forested. The property to the north is being cleared for development. Wildlife noted in Halfmoon Meadow includes muskrat, great blue heron, and beaver. Other species expected include songbirds of emergent marsh such as red-winged blackbird, swamp sparrow, American bittern, and Virginia rail. Other species of birds associated with wetlands include yellow warbler, northern waterthrush, and American redstart. Aquatic mammals such as otter and mink would be expected to utilize the marsh and adjacent forest. The forest will support the common mammals of the region and migratory songbirds of upland forest, including species of the forest interior. Although this property is relatively small, its value is increased by the adjacent conservation land. The landowner has not indicated an interest in selling the property. The location of this property is shown in Figure 14.        
O’Coin Property on Danforth Road, Tyngsborough: This is a 97 acre parcel adjacent to the Woodward Property described above. A portion of the property includes a part of the Halfmoon Meadow Marsh, and also a pond and stream that flow into Halfmoon Meadow Marsh. The rest of the property is forested. The species of wildlife utilizing this property are similar to that of the Woodward Property, however, the value of this property is greater because it is much larger and it has more riparian habitat along Halfmoon Meadow Marsh. The landowners have indicated that they are not interested in selling. The location of this property is shown in Figure 14.


2.6 Alternative E: On-Site Migratory Fish Restoration

Specific Projects
Fish Passage on Flint Pond: Flint Pond was created by damming Bridge Meadow Brook in two locations. The lower dam is about 700 feet upstream of the confluence with the Merrimack River. The upper dam is another 700 feet upstream. It is likely that American eel and possibly Atlantic salmon once entered Bridge Meadow Brook before it was dammed. River herring, however, typically spawn in deeper, slower water, and, therefore, probably did not spawn in Bridge Meadow Brook. However, Flint Pond could potentially provide spawning opportunities for blueback and alewife herring if a seed-stock is established in the pond and fish passage is provided. However, the following factors may limit the feasibility of this project:
• Flint Pond is relatively small, only 61 acres in size, so a substantial run of herring could not be expected. It is also shallow, only six feet at its deepest, therefore, there is a question as to whether the water temperature gets too warm in the summer to support juvenile herring. Bridge Meadow Brook would likely still be suitable for American eel if passage was provided.
• The cost of constructing fish passage facilities for herring would be substantial because the lower dam is 16 feet high and sits in a deep, narrow section of the river. Fitting an adequate fish passage facility into the narrow confines offers some engineering challenges. Also, two fish passage facilities would have to be constructed. A rough estimate of costs for constructing the two fish ladders is $200,000 (Richard Quinn, USFWS hydraulic engineer, pers. comm.).

The other question that remains is whether it is prudent to reintroduce migratory fish into Flint Pond if the sediments are contaminated. To evaluate this, we compared 1987 contaminants levels in Flint Pond and Flint Pond Marsh to levels found during the Five-Year Reviews1 conducted in 1994 and 1999.

Screening criteria for sediments have been developed for both marine and freshwater, against which sediment contaminant concentrations can be compared and a prediction can be made as to the likelihood of toxicity. Only one contaminant, arsenic, was found to exceed sediment quality criteria. When the highest concentrations of arsenic found in sediments collected in 1987 were compared to the highest concentrations of arsenic in sediments collected in 1999, it appeared that the concentrations had decreased by more than half since 1987 (EBASCO 1988; EPA 1999 unpublished data). The highest concentration of arsenic in Flint Pond from the 1987 sampling was 110 ppm; the highest concentration of arsenic from the sampling in 1994 was 69.7 ppm (Metcalf and Eddy 1995); and the highest concentration of arsenic from1999 was 48.6 ppm. The 1999 sampling indicated that three samples in the pond and two samples in the marsh exceeded the Effects Range-Low or ERL (the lower 10th percentile of the data effects distribution)2 for arsenic (13.0 ppm). None of the samples exceeded the Effects Range-Median or ERM3 for arsenic (50.0 ppm), as defined by Ingersoll (1996) as the 50th percentile of the data effects distribution. Long et al. (1998) reported that the probability of toxic responses in test organisms in marine sediments when one or more ERLs are exceeded and no ERMs is 16 to 18 percent (no probabilities have been developed for freshwater sediments). Given the trend of decreasing chemical concentrations in Flint Pond and the low probability of effects, we believe that sediment contamination would not be an impediment to successful herring introduction.

            Restoration of the Upper Flint Pond Dam: This dam creates Flint Pond and belongs to the MDF&W. The dam is in relatively poor condition and the MDF&W has not had the funding for repairs. NOAA’s settlement referred to the importance of maintaining the structural integrity of the dams to prevent migration of contaminated sediments. The settlement included monies for monitoring the dams and initiating structural surveys, but not monies to actually restore the dams. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management, Dam Safety Office contracted with GEI Consultants to inspect and evaluate the Upper Flint Pond Dam in 1998. GEI estimated that it would cost $103,000 for minimal repairs on the dam. However, MDF&W does not support minimal repairs on the dam; they would prefer a more lasting solution. Therefore, arrangements are being made for a thorough evaluation of the dam and an estimation of costs for a number of remedial scenarios. Because this will take some time, the Trustee Council did not want to postpone the Final RP/EA until this information was collected. Since it was NOAA’s settlement that raised conserns about the integrity of the dams and they recovered $134,000 for damages, it seems that this is a reasonable cap for expenditure. However, acknowledging that this is not likely to be sufficient, the Trustee Council has agreed to raise the cap to $200,000 for expenditure out of settlement funds.

            Stabilization of Bank Erosion in the Merrimack River through Tyngsborough: There are numerous locations of bank erosion along the Merrimack River through Tyngsborough and locations just south. Some of the erosion is likely due to natural processes and some due to human-alterations. Bioengineering, or stabilizing with vegetation, is not always successful in

large rivers of the north such as the Merrimack River because of ice scour (David Killoy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, pers. comm.), therefore, stabilization generally requires at least some

riprap. Although an excessive rate of erosion is not desirable in a river system, riprap has deleterious effects as well, such as increasing water velocities and aggravating erosion both

upstream and downstream. Riprap is also costly; approximately $40 per linear foot. Riprap of one mile of the Trout River in Vermont has been estimated to cost $211,000 in 1999 (Martha Abair, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, pers. comm.).

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1 EPA’s Five-Year Review is undertaken to review remedial actions completed at the site to date, to ensure that the remedial actions remain protective of human health and the environment. This review is required by federal statute for any site remedy which results in hazardous substances remaining on site (CERCLA § 121(c) and 40 CFR §300.430(f)(4)(ii))(Metcalf and Eddy 1995).

2 The Effects Range-Low is intended to represent chemical concentrations below which probability of toxicity and other effects are minimal (Long et al. 1998).

3 The Effects Range-Median is intended to represent mid-range concentrations above which adverse effects are more likely, although not always expected (Long et al. 1998).


2.7 Alternative F: Off-Site Migratory Fish Restoration
Shawsheen River Fish Passage: The Shawsheen River is a tributary to the Merrimack River; its confluence with the Merrimack River is in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Historically, the Shawsheen River probably provided spawning habitat for migratory fish until dams were

constructed that impeded migrations. In 1998 and 1999, river herring were once again sighted in

the Shawsheen River just above its confluence with the Merrimack River (William Easte, MDF&W, pers. comm.) Presently, three dams impede upstream migration of fish. Fish passage at the second two could cost as much as $250,000 each for fish ladder construction or breaching. Little monitoring of the river has been conducted to determine the quality of upstream spawning habitat. This work should be conducted before investment in fish passage is considered. Also, a large culvert exists at the confluence of the Shawsheen River with the Merrimack River. An investigation as to whether the culvert would inhibit movement of fish into the Shawsheen River would need to be conducted.
Concord River Fish Passage: The Concord River is a tributary to the Merrimack River; its confluence with the Merrimack River is in Lowell, Massachusetts. In 1999, shad were sighted just upstream of the mouth of the Concord River (Douglas Smithwood, USFWS, pers. comm.). Three dams in the lower reaches of the Concord River impede upstream fish migration. The locations of these dams are shown in Figure 14 and the dams are described below:

• The Middlesex Dam is located just upstream of the mouth of the confluence with the Merrimack River. This dam is partially breached, however, remnants of the dam, including the base of the dam that still extends across the width of the river and the abutments that remain along each shore, create water velocities that are difficult for shad and river herring to negotiate. Migration of shad and river herring are, therefore, only expected past this dam during very limited flow conditions, if at all (Richard Quinn, USFWS hydraulic engineer, pers. comm.).

• The second dam, Centennial Island, is located 1.4 miles upstream of the confluence of the Concord River with the Merrimack River. This dam is an active hydroelectric project that has an operational fish passage facility.

• The third dam, the Talbot Mills Dam, is located in Billerica, Massachusetts, approximately 4.6 miles upstream of the confluence with the Merrimack River. This dam is approximately seven feet high and 160 feet long and it creates a large impoundment. Removal of this dam is unlikely because loss of the impoundment would affect private properties and there is likely a substantial load of sediments behind the dam. Therefore, construction of a fishway would be necessary for fish passage to be provided past this dam.

The USFWS Central New England Fishery Resources Office in Nashua, New Hampshire obtained a grant to stabilize the breach at the Middlesex Dam to allow for fish migration. Therefore, passage past this dam is expected by 2002. However, fish passage at the Middlesex Dam will only allow fish movement to the Talbot Mills Dam. MDF&W does not support the construction of fishways unless fish have been observed in the river below the dam of interest (Mark Tisa, MDF&W, pers. comm.). Therefore, USFWS has begun to stock herring in the Concord River (750 herring were transported from the Charles River in 1999; 7,500 herring were transported from the Taunton/Nemasket River Watershed to the Concord River in the springs of 2000-2002, and they plan to monitor returns each year to provide the documentation needed for the Commonwealth to support construction of fish passage at the Talbot Mills Dam. Upstream of the Talbot Mills Dam there are no more obstructions until the Saxonville Dam on the Sudbury River in Saxonville, Massachusetts, and a small hydroelectric dam on the Assabet River in Acton (on the Maynard line), Massachusetts. Therefore, once fish get past the Talbot Mills Dam, more than 40 river miles of historical habitat become available.

An estimated cost of the construction of a denil fish ladder at the Talbot Mills Dam is $225,000 to $250,000 (Richard Quinn, USFWS hydraulic engineer, pers. comm.). This is more than NOAA’s settlement of $134,000. Therefore, additional grants would be needed to fund the fish ladder construction. The following potential sources of additional funding were provided by Joseph McKeon, USFWS, Central New England Fishery Resources Office:

A. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - USFWS has typically provided funds on an annual basis to support fish and wildlife habitat restoration projects throughout the northeast. Funds have ranged from $10,000 to $238,000.

B. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) are environmentally beneficial projects which a PRP agrees to undertake in the settlement of an environmental enforcement action, but which the PRP is not otherwise legally required to perform. In return, some percentage of the cost of the SEP is considered as a factor in establishing the final penalty paid by the PRP.

C. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation - NFWF is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(a) tax-exempt organization established by Congress in 1984. The NFWF fosters cooperative partnerships to conserve fish, wildlife, plants, and the habitats on which they depend. The NFWF works with its grantees and conservation partners to stimulate private, state, and local funding for conservation through challenge grants. Challenge grants are awarded to eligible recipients including federal, state, and local governments, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations for conservation projects. Project proposals are received on a revolving basis with two decision cycles per year. The majority of support provided by the NFWF ranges from $25,000 to $75,000 with some small grants and some over $150,000.

D. Department of Defense - Innovative Readiness Training allows the Air Force, Army, Navy Reserves and other services within DoD to have training time available to assist in the completion of natural resources habitat restoration and enhancement projects.


E. National Marine Fisheries Service- Community Based Restoration Program provides funding for projects that benefit multiple species; achieves a variety of resource management objectives; encourages public involvement; and demonstrates a clear conservation need.

F. National Marine Fisheries Service - American Sportfishing Association, FishAmerica Foundation provides funding for projects that result directly in on-the-ground habitat restoration that clearly demonstrates significant benefits to marine, estuarine or anadromous

fisheries resources, especially sportfish, and must involve community participation through an education or volunteer component tied to the restoration activities.

G. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Habitat Restoration Program (Section 1135 (206) of the 1996 Water Resources Development Act, as amended) offers Planning Assistance Programs and Environmental Assistance Programs which provide opportunities for the States to obtain assistance in addressing water resource issues. The Water Resources Development Act of 1996 offers opportunities for the COE to be involved in projects that include environmental restoration for aquatic habitat. The COE contribution for project costs is typically up to 65% to be matched with 35% non-federal funds.


H. Massachusetts Division of Marine Resources and Division of Fisheries and Wildlife - State resource agencies are often asked to contribute funds, technical support, or in-kind services to be used as financial matches for federal challenge grant projects.

I. Non-Governmental Organizations - Watershed associations; local Trout Unlimited chapters; angler groups; sportsman alliances, organizations, and clubs; commercial fisherman’s associations are examples of non-government organizations that typically offer financial assistance for environmental restoration projects.

A potential addition to this alternative could be the restoration of American eel. A fish ladder for American eel elvers could also be constructed at the Talbot Mills dam for approximately $50,000 (Douglas Smithwood, USFWS, pers. comm.).
Concord River Stocking and Monitoring: USFWS Central New England Fishery Resources Office in Nashua, New Hampshire also submitted a proposal for funds to the Trustee Council for stocking and monitoring of the Concord River for shad and river herring as part of the overall Merrimack River Anadromous Fish Restoration. The request for assistance with the costs of the stocking and monitoring was $30,000 for three years of work.


2.8 Preferred Alternatives

The Trustee Council is proposing to have two separate restoration actions: one to compensate for impacts to wetland resources and habitat, and one to compensate for the potential impacts to migratory fish.

Wetland Restoration

The Selection Criteria listed in Table 1 (page 12) indicate a hierarchy whereby a restoration involving creation or enhancement of habitat is preferred over simple protection of habitat. The Trustees were considering an alternative combining the Sandpit on Red Gate Road/Dunstable Road/Brookview Circle, which involved creation/enhancement of wetland, and protection of the Regonini Properties which abut the sandpit. However, the Sandpit on Red Gate Road alternative required the cooperation of eight different landowners, and not all of the landowners were interested in participating. Since no other active restoration alternatives appear to be viable, the Trustee Council has chosen land protection as the preferred alternative. Properties would be purchased by the Trustee Council and subsequently transferred to the another interested party, such as the Conservation Commissions of the Towns of Tyngsborough or Dunstable, or the MDF&W, with protective covenants incorporated into the deeds.

The criteria listed in Table 2 were used as a guide for evaluating the land protection alternatives. Table 3 provides a matrix whereby each alternative is rated - low, medium, or high- as to how well it meets each criterion in Table 2. The evaluation criteria serve as guides rather than as absolute decision-makers because all of the criteria are not weighted equally; for instance, “j” refers to the willingness of the seller, which is critical for the project to be viable. Therefore, the matrix provides a picture of how preliminary decisions were made, but cannot be used quantitatively, such as choosing the preferred alternative based on the number of “high” ratings that were assigned to it.

Some important information is still unknown. Specifically, the cost or appraised value of each alternative is still lacking because it was decided that land appraisal is too costly, potentially $5,000 per appraisal, to conduct for each of the land protection alternatives. The Trustees can only pay the fair market value for the properties based on an appraisal that uses federal and state standards (Public Law 91-646, the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended; and Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs Land Acquisition Policy, September 1, 1995). Therefore, discussions with the landowners have only determined whether they would consider having their land purchased by the Trustee Council, with an understanding that selling price would be discussed at a later date. The lack of appraisal also makes it difficult to evaluate the cost effectiveness of each alternative and to determine how many properties the Trustee Council can afford to purchase. Since the Trustee Council is presently lacking this critical information, the properties preferred for purchase and protection are listed in order of priority with the presumption that as much property will be purchased as money allows. Efforts will be made to attain grants to stretch the money as far as possible. If purchase agreements for preferred properties cannot be negotiated, the Trustee Council will pursue the next preferred property on the list. Maps of all the properties are provided in Appendix A.

The preferred alternatives, in order of priority, with a justification for each are provided below:

1. Elkareh Property on Flint Pond: The Elkareh Property is the only property on Flint Pond for which the Trustee Council could find a willing seller. The Elkareh Property only has a small pocket of wetland on it but it provides a significant buffer for Flint Pond. Based on the trails throughout the site, it already receives some public use. To the best of the Trustee Council’s

knowledge, the Elkareh’s had plans to develop the property, which they postponed when the Trustee Council expressed its interest in potential purchase. Therefore, it is believed that the property is in imminent danger of being developed. There is not a lot of opportunity for habitat enhancement on this property. The Trustee Council believes that the Town of Tyngsborough is supportive of this acquisition.

2. Larter Property on Dunstable Road: This property is approximately 113 acres, and abuts the Regonini Properties. It is located across Dunstable Road from the Charles George Landfill. A portion of Dunstable Brook running through the property was impacted by the landfill. The property has very diverse wildlife habitat including cow pasture with hedgerows and patches of trees and shrubs, non-persistent emergent wetland associated with Dunstable Brook, wetland forest and upland forest. Therefore, it is expected to have a high diversity of wildlife species.

Since wood turtles are known to utilize the Regonini Properties, it is likely that they use Dunstable Brook as a travel corridor and, therefore, also utilize the Larter Property. According



Table 2. 1Criteria for selecting land protection alternatives to compensate for environmental injury caused by the Charles George Landfill.



a. Extent to which the alternative protects the types of natural resources that were injured; ie, groundwater, emergent wetlands, migratory bird habitat (particularly wetland-dependent species), and migratory fish.

b. Proximity to injured resources.
* Sites closer to the area of impact will be preferred.

c. Cost effectiveness of the alternative.

d. Extent to which the alternative will enhance the public’s ability to use, enjoy, or benefit from the natural resources.
* Larger parcels or parcels adjacent to existing protected land would be preferable to small parcels or parcels surrounded by developed property or property vulnerable to development.

f. Vulnerability to development.
* Protection of property in danger of being developed would be considered of greater ecological benefit than protection of property not likely to be altered.

g. Restoration potential.
* Sites that could be enhanced in some way would be preferred over sites that do not have any enhancement potential.

h. Overall habitat value of the site.
* A high value site might have habitat for federal or state-listed threatened or endangered species, or for a high diversity of species.

i. Support of the town.
* Since the town Conservation Commissions are likely to be the holders of the properties it is important that the towns have an interest in the properties being considered.

j. Willingness of the seller.

 

1Criteria are not listed in order of priority.


TABLE 3 HERE

Table 3. Evaluation of land protection alternatives using the criteria for selecting land protection alternatives to compensate for ecological injury caused by the Charles George Landfill (see Table 2).


to Tyning (1990), wood turtles stay close to their streams and rivers, and, therefore, have relatively linear home ranges that run up to a mile in length. The Trustee Council does not know what plans there may be for this property if it were not purchased by the Trustee Council; it is presently actively pastured. It is also not clear how the history of contamination in Dunstable Brook may affect the value of the property. The land could be actively managed in some ways, including erection of bluebird boxes, continuing active pasturing to keep the land open, and allowing some of the pasture to grow to tall grassland to provide for grassland bird species such as bobolink and meadowlark. The Town of Dunstable has indicated strong support for the purchase and protection of this property.

3. Elkareh Property on Dunstable Road: This property abuts the Larter Property to the north so its acquisition would contribute an additional 27.5 acres to the 113 acre Larter Property. This property is primarily forested, and although it is not especially diverse in itself, it contributes to the diversity of the Larter Property which is predominantly meadow. The forest/meadow edge is also utilized by American woodcock and whip-poor-will, although whip-poor-will populations have been declining in the Commonwealth (Veit and Petersen 1993). The meadow/forest mix, especially with a predominance of oak trees in the forest, also creates excellent habitat for white-tailed deer and turkey. Since most of the road frontage of the property is wet, we have reason to believe that the property is not especially vulnerable to development, however, part of the property has been logged and more harvestable trees appear to be present. The hillside on the property could contribute nicely to the walking experience if trails are constructed on the protected properties. The Elkareh’s have indicated that they would be willing to sell this property to the Trustee Council. There are not a lot of opportunities to enhance the habitat of this property. Dunstable Brook running through the property was impacted by the landfill.

4. Japp Property on Lowell Road: A corner of this property abuts the Elkareh Property on Dunstable Road so this 30-acre parcel would contribute to the block of protected land if the block included the Elkareh Property. This property is mostly forested with a small brook running through it. The Dunstable Conservation Commission is supportive of this acquisition and the landowner is interested in selling to the Trustee Council. The Trustee Council does not know the intentions of the landowner if the property is not purchased by the Trustee Council, however, the property has a lot of frontage and a lot of upland forest, so it appears that it could be attractive for development.

5. Larter Property on Main Street: This property is of lower priority because it is the furthest away from the areas of injury, and it is disjunct from other protected properties or properties being considered for protection in this process. However, it is a good-sized parcel in itself, 91 acres. It consists of old field and forest, and, therefore, offers some habitat diversity. The Dunstable Conservation Commission is supportive of the acquisition. It is not clear what the landowner plans for the property if not purchased by the Trustee Council, but it does have upland frontage on a major roadway. The landowner is willing to sell to the Trustee Council.

7. Greene Property: This property is also relatively far from the areas of injury. It is, however, adjacent to other protected properties, and is, essentially, protected itself since the Town of Tyngsborough purchased it. The property would have been sold to a developer if not purchased by the town. However, the purchase was a burden on the town so if money remains available offering financial assistance to the town would make sense.


The following are potential sources of additional funding:

A. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) provides grants for long-term wetlands conservation projects including acquisition, restoration, and/or enhancement. There is a requirement of at least a 1:1 non-federal match.

B. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation - NFWF is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(a) tax-exempt organization established by Congress in 1984. The NFWF fosters cooperative partnerships to conserve fish, wildlife, plants, and the habitats on which they depend. The NFWF works with its grantees and conservation partners to stimulate private, state, and local funding for conservation through challenge grants. Challenge grants are awarded to eligible recipients including federal, state, and local governments, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations for conservation projects. Project proposals are received on a revolving basis with two decision cycles per year. The majority of support provided by the NFWF ranges from $25,000 to $75,000 with some small grants and some over $150,000. An NRDAR land acquisition project in Peterborough, New Hampshire recently received a NFWF grant (Molly Sperduto, USFWS, pers. comm., January, 2001).

C. Massachusetts Environmental Trust - established in 1988 by the Massachusetts Legislature to receive settlement proceeds from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Metropolitan District Commission for violations of the Clean Water Act in Boston Harbor. Its purpose is to “fund and coordinate projects to restore, protect, and improve the quality of the waterways of the Commonwealth; to increase public understanding of Massachusetts waters, and the effects of human activities upon them; and to increase public understanding of Massachusetts water, and the effects of human activities upon them; and to encourage public involvement in activities that promote these waters as living resources and public treasures for present and future citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts”. This organization does provide grants to public agencies.

D. The Turner Foundation, Inc. - provides grants for the protection of rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifiers, oceans, and other water systems from contamination, degradation, and other abuses. Priorities includes strengthening the advocacy, outreach, and technical capabilities of organizations addressing the protection of water systems; stopping further degradation of water-dependent habitats from new dams, diversions, and other large infrastructure projects; promoting allocation of water specifically for environmental purposes, including habitat restoration and fish and wildlife protection; supporting efforts to improve public policies affecting water protection, including initiatives to secure pollution prevention and habitat protection; reducing pesticide use; and strengthening the advocacy, outreach, and technical capabilities addressing the disproportionate use and location of toxic material in poor and rural areas.

F. Fields Pond Foundation - provides financial assistance to nature and land conservation organizations which are community-based, which address specific environmental challenges, and which serve to elevate environmental awareness by involving local inhabitants in conservation issues. Grants generally range from $500 to $25,000. Foundation support includes specific project grants for trailmaking and other enhancement of public access to conservation lands, rivers, coastlines and other natural resources; and for land acquisition for conservation. Recipients include governmental organizations.

G. Town of Dunstable - the Town of Dunstable Conservation Commission may have a small sum of money that could be used toward the purchase of land or as part of a non-federal match.

H. Non-Governmental Organizations - Watershed associations and land trusts are examples of non-governmental organizations that could serve as partners in securing grants for land acquisition and trail development.


Migratory Fish Restoration

The preferred alternative is a combination of two alternatives listed under Alternative G: Off-Site Migratory Fish Restoration. These are Concord River Fish Passage and Concord River Stocking and Monitoring. For clarification, the Concord River Fish Passage would involve providing $100,000 towards constructing a fish ladder at the Talbot Mills Dam. Additional $150,000 would need to be obtained to complete the fish ladder. The monitoring would be funded for $30,000. The attributes of this project are compared to the Evaluation Criteria listed in table 1 below:

A. This project would enhance the population of shad and river herring in the Merrimack River Basin by: providing seed stock to historical habitat, monitoring the success of the

stocking effort, and providing access to over 40 river miles of historical fish habitat.

B. This project is a substantial distance from the location of impact. However, the project addresses a resource of concern, the anadromous fisheries, by increasing the availability of spawning habitat. This project should ultimately enhance the populations of these fish throughout the watershed.

C. This project is cost-effective because, for approximately $130,000 of Charles George Restoration money, shad and river herring would have access to over 40 river miles of historical habitat. Ultimately, this project should make a major contribution to the overall populations of shad and river herring in the Merrimack River Watershed.

D. The public’s ability to use, enjoy, or benefit from the natural resources should be enhanced by this project because the project is ultimately expected to significantly increase the populations of shad and river herring in the Merrimack River Basin and, thus, enhance the public’s opportunities to enjoy these resources.

E. The ecological benefit to the public should be substantial since the populations of shad and herring in the Merrimack River Basin may be significantly increased.

F. The Town of Tyngsborough will probably not continue to be involved in this project after the Trustee Council's involvement has ended. However, the watershed associations in the Sudbury/Assabet/Concord River Watershed have indicated enthusiasm for fish restoration, and continued interest in enhancing habitat for migratory fish in the watershed is expected (SUASCO Watershed Association, letter dated January, 1998; Boston Chapter of Trout Unlimited, letter dated January, 1998; Hop Brook Protection Association, letter dated January, 1998; SuAsCo Watershed Coalition, letter dated January, 1998; Sudbury River Citizens Advisory Committee, letter dated January, 1998).

G. This project is expected to be successful. There is a high expectation that herring and shad will develop self-sustaining populations in the Concord/Sudbury/Assabet Rivers in response to stocking and provision of fish passage. The State of Maine has had success restoring alewives to many locations in Maine, most recently to the Kennebec and Royal Rivers (Thomas Squires, Maine Department of Marine Resources, pers. comm.). There is also a great deal of interest at this time at the state and federal level in stream restoration, dam removal, and fish passage, (ie., Massachusetts River Restore Program, and USFWS Recreational Fisheries and Fish Passage Program), therefore, there is reason for optimism in finding supplemental funding for construction of a fishway at the Talbot Mills Dam once shad and herring have been documented to have returned to the river.

H. The project will comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws.

In addition, one alternative listed under Alternative E: On-Site Migratory Fish Restoration, the Repair of Upper Flint Pond Dam will be conducted if the evaluation of the dam determines that the work is cost effective. The primary purpose of the dam repair would be to assure the integrity of the dam so that contaminated sediments will not migrate to the Merrimack River where they could potentially impact migratory fish. The attributes of this project are compared to the evaluation criteria provided in Table 1 below:

A. This alternative does not restore, replace, or enhance natural resources but rather assures the perpetuation of existing conditions.

B. This project would occur essentially at the location of injury.

C. The cost effectiveness of this project remains unclear as an evaluation of the dam has not yet been conducted. Reconstruction of the dam could potentially be costly. Since NOAA’s settlement only referenced conducting surveys to assure the integrity of the dam, but not monies to rebuild the dam, the Trustees have decided to limit the expenditure on this project to $200,000.

D. This project enhances the public’s ability to use, enjoy, or benefit from the natural resources by assuring the pertuation of existing conditions.


E. The ecological benefit to the public is primarily in preventing sediments from migrating downstream. The current ponded condition of the site creates habitat for many species of wildlife, however, if the dams were removed the site would revert to a stream with riparian wetlands which would also provide high value habitat for wildlife.

F. This alternative would not provide increased opportunities in community involvement.

G. The project has a high likelihood of success, however, the cost required to make it successful still remains an unknown.

H. This project would be expected to be in compliance with applicable laws.

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Prepared by: The Charles George Natural Resources Trustee Council
Issued: September 2002

Contact:
Laura Eaton
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
c/o Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Weir Hill Road
Sudbury, MA 01776
(978) 443-4661 x 17
Last updated: February 13, 2013