New England Field Office
Conserving the Nature of New England

 

 

Environmental Contaminants Biological Technical Assistance Group (BTAG)

Environmental Contaminant biologists participate in the multi-agency Biological Technical Assistance Group (BTAG) via an Interagency Agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 1.

The BTAG is comprised of environmental scientists and wildlife biologists from state and federal agencies throughout New England (NE). It provides EPA with technical expertise on the characterization and remediation of contaminant impacts to fish and wildlife and restoration of natural resources.

EC biologists principally consult with EPA on National Priority List (NPL a.k.a. - Superfund) sites. BTAG biologists work cooperatively with EPA Remedial Project Managers through all phases of NPL site activities, including Preliminary Site Investigations, Remedial Investigations, Ecological Risk Assessments and Feasibility Studies.

Elizabeth Mine photo        Acid mine drainage photo

Elizabeth Mine NPL, Strafford, VT. An abandoned mine in the copper belt of VT is being remediated to minimize acid mine drainage impacts in the Ompompanoosuc River watershed.

Currently, aquatic, riparian, and terrestrial habitats are moderately to severely degraded. Two other nearby copper mines, Ely and Pike Hill, are also slated for remedial investigations in the near future.

                    
Image stream restoration    Image Marsh restoration                             
                    

 

Ottati and Goss NPL, Kingston, NH. 10 acres of a PCB-contaminated forested wetland in southeast NH were remediated and restored through multi-agency cooperation. Innovative removal and restoration techniques were employed to re-establish hydrology, microtopography and a diverse vegetative community which set the stage for long-term success.

 

           Housatonic River photo  

  fish goldfish image

      GE/Housatonic Site , Pittsfield, MA. Numerous studies looking at the exposure and effects of PCBs in fish and wildlife have been conducted in highly contaminated portions of the Housatonic River and its floodplains in support of an Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA). ERA findings will help determine remedial cleanup goals for the protection of natural resources.

      NPL sites, in many cases, have bankrupt or non-existent Responsible Parties (RPs) that are incapable of covering the cost of remediation or restoration. In these instances, EPA shoulders the costs and BTAG biologists provide technical assistance to attain the most ecologically protective remedial and restoration option possible with the available funds. In cases with viable RPs, EPA and BTAG biologists provide similar remedial/restoration services but a separate Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration will often also be conducted by the Natural Resource Trustees in order to recover past, present, and future damages from contaminant and remedial impacts.

Additional information on BTAG/FWS EC Sites can be found at Region 1 EPA Waste Site Cleanup and Reuse site-specific websites. When you click on these links you will be directed to EPA NE Website:

 

 

Last updated: September 16, 2009