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Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation, Salt Lake county, Utah

North Zone Wetlands NRDA Settlement, Lakepoint Wetlands Restoration

Background

Lakepoint Wetlands Lakepoint Wetlands

Lakepoint Wetlands

The North Zone Wetlands are located near a smelting, refinery and mill tailings impundment facility operated by Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation (KUCC), on a narrow strip of land between the north end of the Oquirrh Mountains and the south shore of the Great Salt Lake, west of Salt Lake City, Utah. (View the location map.)   The wetlands are fed by a series of springs that are forced to the surface at the base of the Oquirrhs, and provide foraging and nesting habitat to a wide variety of shorebirds, waterfowl, terrestrial birds, and other wildlife species.  Mining operations in the area (known as the “North End”) first began in the early 1900’s and have included a wide variety of mineral processing operations including ore crushing and leaching, electrolytic refining and processing of ores, and numerous storage units for waste rock, tailings, slag and process water. Operations at the facility up through approximately the early 1990’s resulted in numerous and/or ongoing releases of hazardous substances including the metals selenium, copper, arsenic, lead, zinc, and cadmium into soils around the facility and directly or indirectly into a groundwater aquifer underlying the facility.  These releases resulted in the contamination of the springs supplying the North Zone wetlands with these metals, resulting in injuries to natural resources including migratory birds and their supporting ecosystem.  Of the metals, selenium was of the most concern to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) because of its mobility in water, bioaccumulation potential in both aquatic plants and invertebrates, and relatively high toxicity to birds.   Under a series of voluntary cleanup agreements under the Comprehensive Emergency Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ), KUCC began remediation of the North Zone facilities in the mid-1990’s, completing cleanup at the North Zone Wetlands in 2003.  Because of the importance of the North Zone wetlands to migratory birds, the Service was an active stakeholder in remedial decision-making at the site.  As it became apparent that remedial actions would not fully address natural resource restoration in the North Zone Wetlands, the Service informed KUCC of its intention to pursue a Natural Resources Damage (NRD) claim for these injuries.  In response, KUCC expressed their desire to participate in a cooperative NRD Assessment and NRD Settlement.

 

Natural Resource Restoration
tAfter quantifying natural resource injuries and evaluating options for restoration, the Service and KUCC agreed on the restoration of the Lakepoint Wetlands, also located on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake, about 10 miles west of the North Zone Wetlands as compensation for natural resource damages at the North Zone.  The complete restoration effort includes the transfer of lands and water rights at the Lakepoint Wetland site from private ownership to a third-party conservation organization for protection as habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife in perpetuity, as well other restoration actions such as construction of habitat features on the property and provision of a financial endowment to support the property into the future.

For certain activities undertaken by the Federal government, it is required to perform an evaluation under the National Environmental Planning Act (NEPA) to determine if the action will have environmentally significant impacts, and if so, to evaluate alternatives for their environmental impacts.  The restoration actions at the Lakepoint Wetlands were determined by this analysis to be categorically exempt from the NEPA due to the intent and scale of the action. 

As a part of the settlement of the Service’s NRD Claim for the North Zone Wetlands, the Service authored a Restoration Plan for the Lakepoint Wetlands which summarizes the nature and extent of natural resource injuries alleged by the Service to have occurred at the North Zone Wetlands, makes a link between these injuries and the compensatory natural resource restoration to be performed at the Lakepoint Wetlands, and provides a detailed plan for both restoration and future management at the site.  Current information and links to the documents associated with this activity are provided below.

 

NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY FOR PUBLIC COMMENT:
DRAFT RESTORATION PLAN/ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION STATEMENT, KUCC North Zone Wetlands NRDA Settlement

Deadline for Public comment: Written comments must be submitted on or before April 2, 2008.

Press Release: March 3, 2008 Service Announces a Draft Plan to Restore Natural Resources at Lakepoint Wetlands, Tooele County

Summary: The Service, on behalf of the Department of the Interior (DOI), as the natural resource trustee, announces the release for public review of the Draft Natrual Resource Damage Restoration Plan and Environmental Action Statement (RP/EAS) for the Lakepoint Wetlands Site in Tooele county, Utah. The Draft RP/EAS presents a preferred alternative that compensates for impacts to natural resources caused by the release of hazardous substances from the Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation (KUCC) North Zone Wetlands National Priorities List Superfund Site.

Links to more information

Executive Summary to the Draft RP/EAS

Full text of the Draft RP/EAS
Attachment 1 - Consent Decree

Consent Decree, Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Complaint, Federal Register Notice
Attachment 2 - NEPA Analysis, Categorical Exclusion Documentation
Attachment 3 - Management Plan
Attachment 4 - Correcpondence during Restoration Planning
Attachment 5
- Comments Received and Service Response (completed at end of comment period)


Contacts

TO SUBMIT COMMENTS
: Written comments on the Draft PR/EAS should be sent to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attn: Chris Cline, Utah Ecological Services Field Office, 2369 West Ordton Circle, Suite 50, West Valley City, Utah 84119. Requests for copies of the RP/EAS may be made to the same address. Interested members of the public are invited to review and comment on the RP/EAS. Written comments will be considered and addressed in the final RP/EAS at the conclusion of the 30-day public comment period. Written comments or materials regarding the RP/EAS should be sent to the Utah Ecological Services Field Office at the address given above.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Administrative Contact:
Larry Crist, Project Leader, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah Field Office
Telephone: 801-975-3330
Email: Larry_Crist@fws.gov

Technical Contact:
Chris Cline, Natural Resource Damage and Assessment Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah Field Office
Telephone: 801-975-3330
Email: Chris_Cline@fws.gov


NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY FOR PUBLIC COMMENT:
DRAFT CONSENT DECREE, KUCC North Zone Wetlands NRDA Settlement

Deadline for Public Comment: Written comments must be submitted on or before March 24, 2008

A Consent Decree between the U.S. Department of Justice (on behalf of the DOI and the
Service) and KUCC containing the terms of a negotiated settlement to resolve the FWS's complaint
alleging injuries to natural resources at KUCC's North Zone Wetlands Site, is also available for public comment.

Department of Justice - Kennecott Consent Decree

 


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