Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

March 3,2008

Chris Cline 801-975-3330, x145                                                                                                                                               

 

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE ANNOUNCES A DRAFT PLAN

TO RESTORE NATURAL RESOURCES

AT LAKEPOINT WETLANDS, TOOELE COUNTY

 

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a draft restoration plan and Environmental Action Statement detailing proposed actions to be taken at the Lakepoint Wetlands, in Tooele County, Utah.  The actions are intended to restore natural resources the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asserts were impacted by contaminated groundwater, surface waters, and sediments at the North Zone Wetlands, in Salt Lake County, Utah. The public is invited to review and comment on the draft restoration plan and Environmental Action Statement. The public comment period begins today, March 3, 2008, and extends for 30 days until April 2, 2008.

 

Restoration actions proposed in the draft restoration plan published today include the transfer of 616 acres of salt marsh wetlands, uplands and playa habitats owned by Kennecott to the Nature Conservancy.   The Nature Conservancy will maintain the land in perpetuity as wildlife habitat.  Kennecott will also provide water rights to the Nature Conservancy to ensure that the Lakepoint Wetlands have a permanent supply of water.  Kennecott will also construct a pipeline and canal system to improve the distribution of water to the property, and will fund an endowment to address the costs of ownership and management of the Lakepoint Wetlands.

 

As a result of a settlement of a natural resource damages claim between the Fish and Wildlife Service and Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation, the proposed draft restoration plan actions are intended to result in enhancement, restoration, and preservation of over 600 acres of salt-marsh wetlands on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake in Tooele County.  The Fish and Wildlife Service’s claim concerned adverse effects to wildlife from historic storage and disposal of wastes and other materials associated with mining operations at the North Zone Wetlands, near Kennecott’s North End copper smelting and refining facility.  Kennecott conducted a voluntary cleanup of the North Zone Wetlands under an Administrative Order on Consent with the State of Utah and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This settlement addresses the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s claim of adverse impacts to waterfowl, other migratory birds, and their habitats at the North Zone Wetlands.

 

 For further information or to obtain copy of the draft restoration plan and Environmental Action Statement for the Lakepoint Wetlands, please contact Ms. Chris Cline at the Utah Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2369 West Orton Circle, Suite 50, West Valley City, telephone at (801) 975-3330 ext. 145.  Additionally, the draft restoration plan can be viewed or downloaded at the following website:

http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/nrda/LakepointWetlands.htm  The website also contains links to other documents associated with the settlement.

 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

 

-FWS-