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Kalamazoo River

Natural Resource Damage Assessment

 

Allied Landfill and Portage Creek Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment Finalized, Restoration to Begin

Photo of Willow Landfill containing PCB-contaminated paper waste that extends into the Kalamazoo River

Willow Landfill containing PCB-contaminated paper waste that extends into the Kalamazoo River.

Photo by USFWS

 

Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment, Portage Creek and Operable Unit 1 (111-page PDF Adobe PDF icon)

 

Trustees for natural resources released a Final Restoration Plan/ Environmental Assessment (RP/EA) for natural resource damages related to the Allied Paper facility and Portage Creek portion of the Kalamazoo River Superfund site.   A Draft RP/EA was released for public review and comment in 2012.  This Final RP/EA incorporates some additional information received during the public comment period on the Draft RP/EA and responses to the public comments received.  The Final RP/EA includes descriptions of restoration projects that can serve as compensation for injuries to natural resources related to releases of PCBs at and from the Allied Paper Mill and Landfill portion of the Superfund site.   The Trustees will implement restoration projects based on the prioritization described in the Final RP/EA and as available funding allows.  

 

The first project that the Trustees will implement is the removal of the Alcott Street Dam on Portage Creek in Kalamazoo. Design and engineering work should be completed in 2013, and the Trustees hope to be able to remove the dam and improve connectivity and stream habitat in 2014.  The Trustees are also working with partners on the conceptual designs of other habitat improvement projects along Portage Creek that could be implemented in 2014-2015, as costs for the dam removal project become more certain.

 

Background

Industrial activities on the Kalamazoo River and Portage Creek released polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to those waterways and the surrounding environment. As a result, the U.S. EPA designated areas downstream of the releases of PCBs as the Allied Paper, Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund Site.

 

One of the several Fish Consumption warning signs found along the Kalamazoo River

 

One of the several Fish Consumption warning signs found along the Kalamazoo River.

Photo by USFWS

 

The U.S. EPA and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality are working to clean up the contaminants in the river system and/or or halt the risk from them in some way. For the current status of the cleanup process, visit EPA's Kalamazoo Project website or MDEQ's website on the Allied Paper, Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund Site.

 

Meanwhile, the Trustees for natural resources are conducting a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). In the NRDA, the Trustees will determine the amount of restoration needed both to return the Kalamazoo River Environment to what it would have been like if the contaminants had not been released and to compensate the public for the loss of use and enjoyment of their natural resources resulting from the contaminants. In order to determine the amount of restoration and compensation required, the Trustees first evaluate the amounts and types of injuries to natural resources that result from the contaminants in the environment. Injuries include things like poor reproduction in bald eagles and mink and fish consumption advisories for anglers in the area.

 

The Trustee agencies for this NRDA are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (added by Governor Granholm on September 29, 2004), the Michigan Department of the Attorney General, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 

We are making progress toward restoration of the Kalamazoo River!  The River has begun returning to its historical channel at the Plainwell Dam site! The Service and our co-trustees negotiated with the paper companies and U.S. EPA to combine dam removal and river restoration with the PCB removal action that is underway in the former Plainwell Impoundment of the river.  This photo shows the removal of the first stop log from the temporary water control structure that will allow a controlled drawdown into the remediated historical channel.  The lowered water level will also make the rest of the PCB removal process easier.  Cleaned banks are being revegetated with native grasses, shrubs and trees by JFNew and we expect fairly rapid colonization of the benthic communities from upstream gravel beds and riffle areas.

 

Kayakers on a natural stretch of the Kalamazoo River.

Kayakers enjoy a natural stretch of the Kalamazoo River.

Photo by USFWS; Annette Trowbridge

 

Reports

The links below go to the Trustees' reports concerning the Kalamazoo River Environment Natural Resource Damage Assessment.

 

February 2014 - Notice of Intent To Prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Riverwide Restoration Plan Federal Register Notice, February 18, 2014 (3-page PDF Adobe PDF icon)

 

August 2013 - Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment, Portage Creek and Operable Unit 1 (111-page PDF Adobe PDF icon)

 

April 2012 - Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment, Portage Creek and Operable Unit 1 91-page PDF Adobe PDF icon

 

October 8, 2010 - Evaluation of Mussel Survival from the Former Plainwell Impoundment Translocation (PDF Adobe PDF icon)

 

March 19, 2010 - Translocation of Freshwater Mussels from the Former Plainwell Impoundment (PDF Adobe PDF icon)

 

March 19, 2010 - Translocation of Freshwater Mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae) from the Plainwell Diversion Dam Area (PDF Adobe PDF icon)

 

Stage 1 Assessment Report for the Kalamazoo River Environment

 

July 16, 2009 - Stage 1 Assessment Report for Kalamazoo River Environment: Recreational Fishing Study Update, July 16, 2009 (192 k PDF Adobe PDF icon)

 

March 2005 - Fact Sheet for Stage 1 Assessment Report for the Kalamazoo River Environment (391k PDF Adobe PDF icon)

 

March 15, 2005 - Presentation on Stage 1 Assessment Report from public meeting (1,100k PDFAdobe PDF icon)

 

Oct. 1, 2001 - Freshwater Mussels of the Kalamazoo River, Michigan, from Battle Creek to Saugatuck (328k PDF Adobe PDF icon) by Renee Sherman Mulcrone and Charles Mehne, DVM

 

November 2000 - Draft Stage 1 Assessment Plan for Kalamazoo River Environment Site (642k PDF Adobe PDF icon) We accepted public comments on this draft plan through January 16, 2001.

 

May 30, 2000 - Preassessment Screen and Determination (600k PDF Adobe PDF icon)

 

 

Sharon Hanshue, MDNR Biologist, removes the first stop log in the water control structure as part of restoring the Kalamazoo River to its historic channel during the Plainwell Impoundment PCB cleanup and dam removal."   Photo courtesy of the MDNR.

 

Sharon Hanshue, Michigan DNR Biologist, removes the first stop log in the water control structure as part of restoring the Kalamazoo River to its historic channel during the Plainwell Impoundment PCB cleanup and dam removal.

Photo courtesy of the Michigan DNR

 

Contacts

If you have any questions concerning information found in any of these reports or any other comments related to the Kalamazoo River Environment NRDA, contact us via email or telephone:

 

Lisa Williams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, East Lansing Field Office, 517-351-8324

 

Judith Alfano, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, 517-373-7402

 

Todd Goeks, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 312-886-7527

 

Georgia Parham, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3 External Affairs, 812-334-4261 ext. 203

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Links

Region 3 NRDA Homepage

Region 3 Contaminants Program Homepage

 

Other Links

For more information on the Superfund cleanup process at this site, visit EPA's website on the Kalamazoo Project or MDEQ's webpage on the Allied Paper, Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund Site

 

For more information on NRDA, in general, visit Department of Interior's NRDA Homepage

 

Kalamazoo River as a Great Lakes Area of Concern, U.S. EPA's website on the AOC and RAP process

 

 

Midwest NRDA Home

Midwest Environmental Contaminants Home

 

 
Last updated: June 24, 2014
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