News Release

State and federal officials release final piping plover restoration plan associated with the Bouchard Barge 120 oil spill

January 10, 2013

Contacts:
Meagan Racey, 413-253-8558, meagan_racey@fws.gov; Ed Coletta, MassDEP, 617-292-5737; Gail Mastrati, RIDEM, 401-222-4700, ext. 2402

The Natural Resource Damages Trustee Council for the Bouchard Barge 120 oil spill today released a final restoration plan and environmental assessment for state and federally threatened piping plovers impacted by the 2003 spill in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The plan describes the injuries resulting from the 98,000-gallon spill that oiled roughly 100 miles of shoreline, including beaches where piping plovers feed and nest. Five chicks and 12 adults were estimated to have been killed.

“The Bouchard B-120 oil spill devastated natural resources within Buzzards Bay and injured numerous species of birds, including the delicate piping plover,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan, who serves as Massachusetts’ trustee for natural resources. “Since Massachusetts supports the largest breeding population of piping plovers along the Atlantic coast, this plan will protect that threatened species and help to restore the population to a more healthy level.”

To help restore piping plovers, the trustees will use $715,000 from the settlement to implement an enhanced management program at selected breeding sites on private and public land in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The program consists of a three-part approach, including targeted predator management, increased enforcement of local beach ordinances on plover-nesting beaches, and public outreach and education. Sites will be chosen based on landowner interest and permission, benefits to piping plovers, proximity to the spill location and other criteria.

“Settlement funds from the oil spill will provide landowners an important and much-needed opportunity to improve their beach conditions for threatened piping plovers,” said Tom Chapman, the New England Field Office supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We look forward to working with them and other partners to both reduce threats to nesting birds and to help regain losses for the birds killed by the oil spill.”

The piping plover restoration plan is the first of three anticipated plans to restore Buzzards Bay and nearby sites in order to compensate for natural resource injuries and the lost use of areas affected by the Bouchard B-120 oil spill. The development and implementation of the restoration plans are funded by a $6 million natural resource damages settlement between the Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc. and the trustees.

Landowners and beach managers interested in receiving funds to implement restoration projects are encouraged to apply online at http://www.grants.gov or to contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service directly for more information. The trustees expect to award restoration funds within the next few months.

To review the plan, visit http://www.fws.gov/newengland. For more information or to obtain a hard copy, please contact Molly Sperduto at (603) 223-2541 or molly_sperduto@fws.gov.

For the Bouchard Barge 120 settlement, the Trustee Council is composed of representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, representing the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, representing the U.S Department of Interior; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, representing the U.S. Department of Commerce. The spill also affected tribal resources: the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head previously settled separately with Bouchard.

More information:

Fact sheet (PDF)
Final 2013 restoration plan (PDF)
2012 news release (PDF) for draft restoration plan (PDF)


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