Elk River, West Virginia. Credit: Craig Stihler, WVDNR
Service officials begin pre-assessment at W.Va.'s Elk River spill
January 15, 2014
As much as 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, or crude MCHM, leaked into the Elk River on January 9 near the Kanawha Valley Water Treatment Plant in Charleston, W.Va. When chemicals such as MCHM enter the environment, our agency, along with other governmental partners, assesses the injuries to fish, wildlife and their habitats. In coordination with West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, we’ve initiated this process on the Elk River.
View of Alpine Motorsports property. Credit: USFS
Restoration effort moving forward with land acquisitions as part of
$21 million Palmerton Zinc natural resource damages settlement
May 24, 2013
State and federal environmental officials announced today that two land purchases have been made to benefit the wildlife, people and landscape of the Kittatinny Ridge.
The two purchases are the Moreton and Alpine Motorsports tracts east of Palmerton in the Aquashicola Creek watershed. Funds for these purchases came from the Palmerton Zinc natural resource damages settlement, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Monroe County Open Space Program, Audubon PA, Blue Mountain Preservation Association, Lehigh Gap Nature Center and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary with the land acquisition expertise of the Wildlands Conservancy.
Black ducks, as well as great blue herons and kingfishers, were impacted by the pollution. Credit: Irene Hinke-Sacilotto
Defendants pay $4.25 million settlement for restoring natural resources at Industri-plex Superfund site in Woburn, Mass.
February 27, 2013
State and federal officials have received a $4.25 million settlement from the Pharmacia Corporation and Bayer CropScience Inc. for damages to natural resources at the Industri-plex Superfund site in Woburn, Mass. From the late 1850s to the 1960s, companies manufactured various products at the site, including sulfuric acid, arsenic insecticides, organic chemicals, munitions, and glue. Hazardous substances disposed there degraded wetland, river and lake habitat used by a variety of wildlife, including fish, turtles, amphibians and migratory birds. Trustees will begin developing a plan to use settlement funds for restoring injured resources.
Shady Maple Farm, which is now protected through a conservation easement. Credit: Trustees of Reservations
Officials propose projects for Connecticut's second round of Housatonic River settlement funds
February 12, 2013
State and federal environmental authorities propose to use approximately $2 million from the 1999 Housatonic River settlement to fund seven projects that will increase fish habitat, restore marshes and analyze possible stream restoration projects. The public is invited to learn more about the proposal on February 19 at 7 p.m. at the Kent Town Hall. Funding comes from a 1999 settlement with General Electric to restore, rehabilitate or acquire the equivalent of the natural resources and recreational uses of the Housatonic River that were injured by the release of PCBs from the GE facility in Pittsfield, Mass. The original restoration plan, released in July 2009, awarded about $7 million to 27 projects for aquatic natural resources, riparian and floodplain natural resources, and recreational use of natural resources.
Quinnipiac River looking west into the Quinnipiac River Gorge, as seen from "Red Bridge" in South Meriden, CT. Credit: Arthur Dutra IV
Service proposes two projects to restore fish, enhance recreation in Conn.'s Upper Quinnipiac River
January 3, 2013
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a draft restoration plan to restore migratory fish and birds impacted by contamination from two Superfund sites in Southington, Conn. The plan proposes to fund two projects, one restoring migratory fish to the upper Quinnipiac River in Southington and Cheshire, and the second maintaining the Quinnipiac River Canoe Trail from Southington to Meriden. Written comments will be accepted through January 31, 2013.
The first stone is removed from Bartlett Rod Shop Company Dam in Pelham, Mass. The removal is mostly funded by the natural resource damages settlement.Credit: Meagan Racey/USFWS
More than $353,000 goes to three projects restoring Connecticut River damaged by Holyoke Coal Tar wastes
November 2, 2012
Three river restoration projects are under way after state and federal environmental officials awarded the projects with $353,000 from a 2004 settlement for coal tar contamination to the Connecticut River in Holyoke. The funds will support the removal of a dam on a Connecticut River tributary, the completion of a structure to move fish around a dam on a second tributary, and the monitoring of rare freshwater mussels in the Connecticut River and its tributaries. Projects will benefit a variety of wildlife, including Atlantic salmon, American eel and sea lamprey.
Merganser at Onondaga Lake. Credit: Biodiversity Research Institute
Bats, birds of NY's Onondaga Lake have high mercury contamination
October 22, 2012
The Service's New York Field Office recently released two reports documenting significant mercury contamination in the bats and birds around Onondaga Lake, a Superfund site, meaning a federally designated abandoned hazardous waste site. The reports will help assess damages to the landscape and wildlife, a step in the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program.
The crowd watches as an excavator removes the first piece of Bartlett Rod Shop Company Dam.Credit: USFWS
Officials and communities kick off dam removal in Pelham, Mass.
October 22, 2012
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff joined partners on October 17 at the Bartlett Rod Shop Company Dam on Amethyst Brook, which feeds into the Fort River and eventually the Connecticut River. The removal of the dam will re-open a half mile of coldwater habitat for the American eel, sea lamprey, eastern brook trout and other fish, and it will also restore natural river functions that benefit freshwater mussels, including the endangered dwarf wedgemussel. The majority of the project was funded by $158,091 from a 2004 settlement between federal and state environmental agencies and the Holyoke Water Power Company and the City of Holyoke Gas and Electric Department for damages to natural resources from coal tar contamination. The Service, through its Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, provided an additional $40,000 and technical assistance.
Areas previously covered in debris and fill have been restored, enhancing wildlife habitat and increasing food control for the nearby Pawtuxet River. Credit: USFWS
Wetlands restored and trail underway in Coventry, RI
October 15, 2012
The Service awarded funds to help restore almost two acres of wetlands and to create trails throughout the 56-acre conservation area at Sandy Bottom Road in Coventry, R.I. Wetlands work was completed this summer, and volunteers have begun work on the trail. The Service awarded $143,000 to this project from a natural resource damage settlement at Picillo Farm Superfund Site, and the funds were supplemented by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Office of Water Resources.
Volunteers placing oyster, Cumberlandian combshells and snuffbox freshwater mussels into the Powell River.Credit: Gary Peeples/USFWS
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, students and other volunteers release mussels in Tenn.'s Powell River
September 27, 2012
The Service, Virginia Tech, Lincoln Memorial University, and several other partners released more than 6,500 endangered mussels on Tuesday into the Tennessee stretch of the Powell River. The release represents the largest recovery effort for the three species, and all were raised at Tech's Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Center in Blacksburg, Va. The Powell River is one of the nation's most diverse, with nearly 100 types of fish and 35 types of mussels, but it has long faced threats from pollution. Its restoration has been supported by the Service's Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration program, which uses non-taxpayer funds to restore natural resources damaged by oil spills or releases of hazardous substances.
Sudbury River area will benefit from projects funded by natural resources restoration settlement
September 4, 2012
Work will soon begin on 11 projects for the wildlife, people and landscape of the Sudbury River watershed, state and federal officials announced today. The projects will be supported by the $3.7 million settlement reached in 1998 by parties for natural resources harmed by mercury and other contaminants from the Nyanza Chemical Superfund site in Ashland, Mass. Funds are allocated in the final restoration plan and environmental assessment for the Sudbury River watershed.
Partners celebrate bike trail in New Milford, Conn.
August 27, 2012
A new mile-long bike trail provides access to the scenic Housatonic River and its corridor for fishing and picnicking. The natural resource damage settlement for General Electric helped fund the trail and additional work to remove invasive plants and place bluebird boxes in the area. Trustees for the settlement have sought to restore public recreational opportunities in addition to aquatic and riparian habitats impacted by PCB contamination.
The Pennington Gap Greenway stream restoration site.Credit: USFWS
Sen. Jim Webb's office visits Virginia restoration projects
August 27, 2012
Staff from the Service's Virginia field office took one of Sen. Webb's staff on a tour of restoration projects for the Lone Mountain Processing, Inc., Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration case. The 1996 release of six million gallons of coal slurry into the Powell River watershed damaged threatened and endangered fish and mussels and aquatic habitat for more than 20 miles downstream. Other animals, such as bats and migratory birds, may have been affected by contaminants accumulating through the food chain.
Featured projects include: Stone Creek Tipple restoration site, a project designed to restore, protect, and enhance riparian habitat and provide opportunities in Lee County for community use and outreach; Pennington Gap Greenway stream restoration site, a project designed to protect and enhance riparian habitat through 700 feet of streambank stabilization along the North Fork Powell River; and acid mine drainage restoration site, a project water quality in the Powell River drainage.
The trustees propose to implement an enhanced management program that will effectively improve the plover population at breeding sites in the two states. Credit: USFWS
Public meeting held for eastern Mass. piping plover restoration
The natural resource trustees, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal and state agencies, gave a presentation in Fall River, Mass., on July 10 to discuss the draft restoration plan for piping plovers impacted by a 2003 oil spill in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Yellowfin madtoms look like miniature catfish but have a stronger sting. Their sensitivity to water quality makes them good indicators of river health.
Credit: Conservation Fisheries, Inc.
Rare fish released in Powell River
Conservation Fisheries, Inc., released 220 yellowfin madtoms in mid June in Southwest Virginia's Powell River as part of the partnership to restore the river and its wildlife that suffered a coal slurry spill in 1996 that spread more than 20 miles downstream. The madtoms, a threatened minnow-sized fish, will add to the reintroduced population raised in captivity. The efforts are supported by a natural resource damage settlement.
Roseate terns nest in shelters on Bird Island in Buzzards Bay.Credit: Susi von Oettingen/USFWS
Communities get $6.6. million for restoration projects in Mass.
The New England field office joined its federal and state partners on June 18, 2012, for the New Bedford Harbor Round IV restoration kick-off event to celebrate the funding of six projects restoring natural resources damaged from decades of toxic PCB pollution in New Bedford Harbor.
Justin Laughlin, VDGIF Project Coordinator demonstrating riparian tree planting techniques to AmeriCorp volunteers. Credit: USFWS
Pennington Gap project improves river for wildlife and adds recreation opportunities
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and partners completed a stream restoration project on the North Fork Powell River in southwest Virginia's Pennington Gap this past month. The project used natural channel design to guide restoration of more than 700 feet of the river flowing through Leeman Field Park. The river bank eroded and in-stream habitat was lost from channel instability, changes in stormwater runoff, and loss of plants along the streambank.
Draft Environmental Assessment/Restoration Plan for Piping Plovers
Impacted by Bouchard Barge 120 Oil Spill
The Natural Resource Damages Trustee Council for the 2003 Bouchard Barge 120 oil spill in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, released a draft restoration plan and environmental assessment for piping plovers impacted by the spill. The plan is the first of three anticipated plans to restore natural resources of Buzzards Bay and nearby areas using the $6 million settlement with Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc. With the $715,000 designated to restore piping plovers, the trustees propose to implement an enhanced management program at breeding sites in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. A public information meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, at 7 p.m. at Heritage State Park on Davol Street in Fall River, Mass.
Roseate terns nest in shelters on Bird Island in Buzzards Bay.Credit: Susi von Oettingen/USFWS
Volunteers kick off restoration at Mass. island
A team from the Old Bedford Village Development Corp. met the last weekend in April for the annual cleanup of Palmers Island in New Bedford. The event marked the start of restoration planning that will use a portion of funds from the last installment of a $20 million natural resource damage settlement reached in 1991 for the discharge of wastes into the harbor from the 1940s to the 1970s.
Blacksburg Country Club settles with U.S. on 2007 fish kill in Montgomery County, Virginia
The U.S., represented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, recently settled natural resource damage claims against the Blacksburg Country Club for injuries to natural resources caused by release of hazardous substances from its golf course in Blacksburg, Va., in 2007. An estimated 10,335 fish, including 169 Roanoke logperch -- a freshwater darter protected under the Endangered Species Act -- were killed.
Service reviews comments on restoration plan for contaminated Massachusetts site
More than 20 comments were received regarding the $3.7 million plan to restore the pollution-damaged Sudbury River watershed, which contains the Nyanza Chemical Superfund site in Ashland, Mass. The final restoration plan is expected to be released by the end of April.
Funds protect more land along Housatonic River
Twenty acres of farmland along were permanently protected in Sharon, Conn., in early February. The Sharon Land Trust and Housatonic Valley Association purchased a conservation easement on the property with funds from the General Electric settlement, Newman's Own Foundation, the Cornwall Conservation Trust and numerous individual donors.
Officials assess potential restoration projects in Connecticut
Trustees for the Housatonic River General Electric settlement recently evaluated possible projects for $1.5 million of restoration funds. Proposals include several dam removals in the Naugatuck River Watershed and salt marsh restoration projects in the tidal portion of the Housatonic River Watershed. Final allocations will be proposed later this spring.
Officials seek review of Holyoke, Mass., restoration plan
Trustees for the Connecticut River have released the draft restoration plan and environmental assessment for natural resource injuries resulting from the Holyoke Coal Tar Deposits and former Holyoke Gas Works site. When the comment period ends Jan. 31, 2012, the documents will be updated for a final plan and assessment.
Officials invite public comment on restoration of contaminated Massachusetts site
Federal and state agencies encourage feedback on a $3.7 million plan to restore the pollution-damaged Sudbury River watershed containing the Nyanza Chemical Superfund site in Ashland, Mass. The draft plan seeks to restore wildlife and habitat, as well as protect new land and increase public access. The draft restoration plan and its assessment (PDF-1.98 MB) are available for comment through Jan. 23, 2012.
Celebrate the restoration of New England's Housatonic River
Experience the Source to Sound paddle trip, an adventure coordinated by the Housatonic Valley Association and other groups to provide educational, historical and cultural programs along the river through Massachusetts and Connecticut. The trip also celebrates the work that has made this river once again accessible to its residents. For more than 40 years, toxic chemicals seeped into the river, contaminating the water and sediment. The hazards reached riverbanks, floodplains, wildlife and even people.
Restoration Program helps citizen scientists explore local wildlife
Some Connecticut communities are taking action to protect their outdoors with the help of Audubon and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. By volunteering as citizen scientists, they're helping put little-known, yet vital wildlife areas on the map. Known as vernal pools, these temporary bodies of water are home to many different animals and plants seeking food and a predator-free place to breed and rest.
New York biologist honored for Hudson River work
Kathryn Jahn with the Service's New York Field Office was honored by the Department of the Interior for leading the assessment and restoration of the Hudson River's natural resources; the river has been polluted since the late 1940s from hazardous substances released by General Electric's Hudson Falls and Fort Edward manufacturing plants.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife helps watch over Downeast Maine's birds
The New England NRD program helped the Downeast Lakes Land Trust complete a successful season monitoring loons nesting on part of the 329,000-acre Downeast Lakes Maine forest. The North Cape Oil Spill settlement helped fund an intern working to monitor the nesting of more than 40 pairs in the area.
Youth Corps cultivates native plants for restoration
The Holyoke Youth Conservation Corps worked this summer with the Service and Massachusetts Trustees of Reservations to restore a forested floodplain in Sheffield, Mass., supported through Housatonic River natural resource damage funding. The crew collected hundreds of seedlings along the river to care for until they are able to be replanted in the restoration area.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Office of Water Resources have awarded about $143,000 to the town of Coventry to restore wetlands through fill removal and invasive species control and to create trails through the 56-acre conservation Sandy Bottom Road Conservation Area.
A worker cleans up oil on Barney's Joy Beach in South Dartmouth following the Buzzards Bay, MA, oil spill in 2003. Credit: Donna Dewhurst/NCTC
Public invited to meet on Buzzards Bay oil spill restoration
Informational meetings regarding restoration planning for the 2003 oil spill in Massachusetts will be held on September 21 at Massachusetts Maritime Academy and September 22 at Heritage State Park from 6 to 9 p.m. The Natural Resource Damages Trustee Council invites the public to learn about the development of restoration plans and to offer input on ideas to address the natural resources injured when the Bouchard B-120 barge spilled 98,000 gallons into the bay.
Tree swallow in a nest box. Credit: Donna Dewhurst/NCTC
Tree swallow report available online
The Service's report on the 1994 tree swallow study is now on the Hudson River NRDA website. The report examines PCB contamination of tree swallows in the upper Hudson River Valley in New York and how the contamination has affected breeding and other bird species.
Roseate terns nest in shelters on Bird Island in Buzzards Bay. Credit: Susi von Oettingen/USFWSCredit: USFWS
Federal funds continue restoring Massachusetts harbor
About $6.5 million from a natural resource damage settlement will fund six projects in New Bedford, Mass. Projects include creating a public river walk, protecting land, monitoring roseate and common terns in Buzzards Bay, and restoring Palmer's Island, the former Acushnet sawmill property and the Round Hill salt marsh in Dartmouth.
Photos before and after restoration along Delaware's Mispillion River. A cooperative settlement in the Dupont Newport Superfund site NRDAR case funded the use of natural materials to protect more than 2,000 feet of eroding shoreline. Credit: USFWS
Service releases map of the Northeast’s contaminated sites
The Northeast Region is commemorating the Deepwater Horizon oil spill anniversary by highlighting restoration on contaminated sites across 13 states through an interactive map featured on the new regional Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program website.