Twin Cities Ecological Services Field Office

Midwest Region

 

Twin Cities Field Office

4101 American Boulevard East
Bloomington, MN 55425
Phone: 612-725-3548
Fax: 612-725-3609
TTY: 1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay)

e-mail: TwinCities@fws.gov

 

 


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Environmental Contaminants Program

Enbridge Oil Spill

 

DRAFT RESTORATION PLAN AND ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT FOR THE JULY 4, 2002 ENBRIDGE ENERGY, LIMITED PARTNERSHIP OIL SPILL NEAR COHASSET, MINNESOTA

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
On July 4, 2002, a subsurface pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership and Enbridge (U.S.) Inc. (collectively called Enbridge) ruptured near the town of Cohasset, Minnesota in Itasca County. The resultant spill released approximately 6,000 barrels (~250,000 gallons) of crude oil into the surrounding environment. The discharge of oil and subsequent response actions caused injury to natural resources and the services they provide.

 

This Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (Draft RP/EA) has been prepared by the Natural Resource Trustees (U.S. Department of the Interior acting through its representatives, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs; the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe; the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, as state cotrustees) and Enbridge, the responsible party, to consider and evaluate actions that will restore, rehabilitate, replace, and/or acquire the equivalent of natural resources and services injured by the discharge of oil and subsequent response actions at the Cohasset Site, pursuant to applicable State, Tribal, and Federal laws and regulations. The Trustees have determined that the Incident caused long-term injuries to wetland vegetation and wildlife habitats. It has also been determined that the Incident caused injury to air resources.


In accordance with Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) regulations, the Trustees considered a reasonable range of restoration alternatives before selecting a preferred alternative. Restoration alternatives evaluated in this plan are intended to fully address the adverse impacts to natural resources that resulted from the release of oil by returning injured natural resources and their services to baseline, as well as compensating the public and environment for interim
losses pending recovery. Alternatives considered are categorized as:

 

1) On-Site Rehabilitation,
2) No Action/Natural Recovery,
3) Off-Site Replacement, and
4) Off-Site Restoration. For the purposes of this

 

Draft RP/EA the following definitions apply to these restoration alternative categories:

 

1) On-Site Rehabilitation is defined as taking action(s) to return natural resources and services directly to the spill site;

 

2) No Action/Natural Recovery is defined as taking no direct action(s) to return (restore, rehabilitate,
replace, or acquire the equivalent of) injured natural resources and services to baseline;

 

3) Off-Site Replacement is defined as taking action(s) at a different location from the spill site to ensure existing conditions at that location are maintained to provide comparable resources and services to those injured at the spill site; and

 

4) Off-Site Restoration is defined as taking action(s) at a different location from the spill site to improve currently degraded conditions at that location to provide comparable resources and services to those injured at the spill site.

 

Neither the On-Site Rehabilitation nor No Action/Natural Recovery Alternatives are sufficient to achieve the Trustees’ goal to make the environment and public whole for injuries to natural resources and services resulting from the discharge of oil at the Cohasset site. While projects considered under either the Off Site Replacement or Off-Site Restoration Alternative have the potential to achieve that goal, the Off-Site Restoration Alternative was selected as the preferred alternative because it has the greatest potential to restore the same type and quality natural resources and services as those affected by the discharge of oil. This alternative would achieve the Trustees restoration goals, has a high probability of success, does not result in significant collateral injury nor adverse health or safety impacts, provides benefit to multiple natural resources, and the estimated costs are reasonable and acceptable.

 

Within the Off-Site Restoration Alternative, restoration of approximately 30 acres of degraded forested and scrub shrub wetlands at a site located within the Chippewa National Forest (CNF) designated as CNF Site 3 West was selected as the preferred project to address the loss of ecological resources. This project will provide services of the same type and quality, and of comparable value, to those lost at the spill site by restoring wetland hydrology and reestablishing appropriate forested and scrub-shrub wetland vegetation through natural regeneration and replanting. Air resource injuries associated with the discharge of oil and in-situ burn will be addressed through a separate project that will entail retrofitting vehicles having older diesel engines with improved emission controls to reduce air pollutant emissions.


These restoration actions, in combination with the response activities, provide appropriate types and quantities of restoration actions necessary to fully and successfully address the adverse impacts to natural resources that resulted from the discharge of oil by returning injured natural resources and their services to baseline, as well as compensating the public and environment for interim losses pending recovery.

 

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Above is the Executive Summary from the Restoration Plan and EA, click here to download a PDF file of the complete 51-page Restoration Plan and EA

 

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Last updated: March 4, 2013