Tobico Marsh NEPA
Final Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment
for Tobico Marsh outside of Bay City, Michigan Approved
A final Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment (plan) for restoring 900-acre Tobico Marsh near Bay City is complete, calling for measures that will improve fish passage between Saginaw Bay and Tobico Marsh and minimize the risk of flooding to nearby residents. The final plan was approved on October 20, 2004 when the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was signed.
Some highlights of the plan include modifications to the flap gate at Tobico Lagoon and improvements to the existing culverts under Parish Road. Fish move between the bay and the marsh for spawning, so enhancing fish passage will benefit fish populations, especially those of northern pike. The Service and its partners restoring the marsh had considered additional measures to improve water flow - including installation of additional culverts under Parish Road and Boutell Road. However, it was determined through information gained during a public comment period that these additional measures, which would have rerouted water from Hadd Drain into the marsh, were not feasible.
The final plan incorporates information and suggestions given by the public during a public comment period earlier this year, at a meeting in January 2002, and an engineering study of water level fluctuations. The plan is available below and at the Bay City State Recreation Area Visitor Center in Bay City, Michigan. A CD of the Environmental Assessment may also be obtained by calling Lisa Williams at 517-351-8324.
In 1998, the Service, the State of Michigan and the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, acting together as natural resource trustees, negotiated a settlement with General Motors and the cities of Bay City and Saginaw under a Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA).
The settlement provided for cleanup of contaminated sediments in Saginaw River, construction of boat launches and a nature park, and restoration of wildlife habitat in portions of the bay and river, including Tobico Marsh. More information on the settlement and its benefits can be found at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/es/ec/NRDA/SaginawNRDA/index.html
The goals of NRDA are to restore the habitats and resources to the condition they would have been had the contaminants not been released into the environment, and to compensate the public for the loss of use or enjoyment of natural resources. The parties responsible for the contamination are required to pay for these activities.
Appendix G - Section 7 Consultation