News Release

From the Kinder Morgan/Suisun Marsh NRDA Trustees

Environmental Report for Suisun Marsh Oil Spill Complete

Restoration projects will compensate for injuries
from 2004 diesel spill in Solano County

August 9, 2010

Suisun Marsh

Photo: Angelo Garcia, Jr., CA Dept. of Fish & Game

Contacts:

Sarah Swenty, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
(916) 414-6571, sarah_swenty@fws.gov

Carol Singleton, California Dept. of Fish & Game
(916) 327-9948

Plans to help restore sensitive Suisun Marsh wetlands to compensate for a 124,000-gallon diesel spill in 2004 have gained final approval.

State and federal agencies completed the final environmental damage assessment and restoration plan for the Suisun Marsh oil spill, where on April 27, 2004 a pipeline owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners ruptured and discharged thousands of gallons of diesel fuel. The release resulted in death and injury to a variety of birds, reptiles, fish, invertebrates, and small mammals, including the salt marsh harvest mouse – an endangered species.

Completion of the plan paves the way for the trustee agencies, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), to contribute $950,000 for two projects designed to compensate for environmental injuries caused by the spill.

“I am pleased that through this collaborative process we have identified two viable projects that will help to restore the ecological health of this important region,” said Steve Edinger, Administrator of DFG’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response. “The Suisun Marsh is the largest brackish wetland in the western United States and requires our constant vigilance and care to maintain its valuable natural resources.”

The two projects are:

Hill Slough

Photo: CA Dept. of Fish & Game

Hill Slough Management Area Restoration: The Hill Slough Restoration Project is in the planning phase and is expected to restore tidal wetlands and moist grassland habitat to 950 acres of diked seasonal and perennial wetlands. The project will consist of restoring areas of the Hill Slough Wildlife Area that are not already fully tidal. The wetland restoration will re-introduce tidal action to the site, restoring a transition of perennial aquatic habitat in the deepest areas, low intertidal marsh, high intertidal marsh, and lowland alluvial habitat. The desired outcome is a self-sustaining marsh ecosystem created through restoration of natural hydrologic and sedimentation processes and reliance on natural abiotic and biological succession processes. The trustees plan to provide $800,000 to this project.

Grizzly Island Invasive Weed Control: Perennial pepperweed, an aggressive non-native plant, threatens the natural ecosystem of the Suisun Marsh. Infestations are widespread, covering at least 370 acres of the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area Complex. The goal of this project is to provide funds for ongoing control measures of perennial pepperweed in managed marsh land within the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area. The current proposal is to chemically treat pepperweed with Chlorsulfuron, which has been found to be an effective herbicide for eradicating pepperweed. The trustees plan to contribure $150,000 to this project.

Pepper Weed

Photo: Sarah Swenty, USFWS

As mandated under both state and federal environmental law, the trustee agencies engaged in a cooperative natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) with the responsible parties, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. and SFPP L.P. Many studies were conducted to assess the severity, duration, and extent of the injury to the habitat, flora, and fauna injured directly by the oil and the associated cleanup actions. The NRDA quantifies injuries to natural resources and develops restoration plans that compensate for those losses.

As part of the restoration planning process, the trustees released a draft plan in February 2009 for public review and comment, and held a public meeting to solicit input from stakeholders.

Kinder Morgan worked cooperatively with the trustees and settled the claim for damages in a Federal District Court Consent Decree entered on July 26, 2007, agreeing to contribute $1,151,099 to restoration and planning of the projects to restore the injured resources.

To obtain a copy of the completed restoration plan, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/ospr/NRDA/Kinder-Morgan.aspx