Ecological Services: Environmental Contaminants
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Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration

Enbridge 2010 Kalamazoo River Oil Spill

 

 

 

 


 

Feature Story: A River Righted

Public walkway on the Kalamazoo River.

On July 25, 2010, Enbridge's Lakehead pipeline ruptured near the city of Marshall in southern Michigan and released toxic crude oil into a nearby wetland. More than 840,000 gallons of oil flowed down Talmadge Creek through 38 miles of the Kalamazoo River. This section of the Kalamazoo had to be closed to the public for the remainder of 2010 and all of 2011. Parts of the Kalamazoo River were eventually re-opened for recreational use in select areas in 2012, but were closed again in other areas for additional dredging to remove oiled sediments in 2013 and 2014. The people and communities close to the river, such as Battle Creek and Marshall, lost significant recreational opportunities due to the oil spill.

 

Learn more about improving recreational access for all »

 


 

Story Map: River of Recent Return

Videos and images tell the story of the July 25, 2010, Enbridge Oil Spill: emergency response to the spill, removing the oil, and on-going restoration of natural resources and public services.

 

View the Story Map "River of Recent Return"

 

 

 


 

Restoration Overview

Restoration and recovery of the Kalamazoo River following the 2010 Enbridge Line 6B oil spill.

 

Presentation at Michigan Aquatic Restoration Conference (Oct. 2017)

 

 

 


 

Kalamazoo River Large Woody Debris Project

Large pieces of wood ar firmly anchored to the river bed or bank. These 'key' structures then trap smaller pieces of wood that improve habitat.

From aquatic insects to turtles, forage fish to smallmouth bass, and large wading birds, they all depend in some way on wood that finds its way to the water. Insects feed on it, fish find shelter around it, turtles bask and birds perch on top of it.

 

Learn more » (Dec. 2016)

 

 


Fish Passage Project on Pigeon Creek

Natural substrate culvert at E Drive crossing on Pigeon Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River.

A natural substrate bottomless culvert replaced inadequate, under-sized culverts on Pigeon Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. The new culvert, along with other streambed structures, allows for fish passage under the road and improved fish habitat.

 

News Release (Oct. 2016)
Fact Sheet (Sept. 2016)

 


 

History

A rupture in a 30-inch oil pipeline near Marshall, Michigan, released over 840,000 gallons of crude oil into Talmadge Creek, which flows into the Kalamazoo River. Enbridge Energy reported the spill in July 2010.  Heavy rains caused Talmadge Creek to overtop its banks and carry oil 38 miles downstream to the Kalamazoo River, into adjacent floodplains. 

 

Oil from the rupture, along with spill response activities, harmed fish, wildlife and other natural areas in and around Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. These public natural resources are under the jurisdiction of the United States, the State of Michigan, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Tribe, and the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of the Pottawatomi Tribe. Government and tribal agencies are using the Natural Resource and Damage Assessment process to document the amount of harm caused by the spill and will seek restitution from the responsible party (Enbridge Energy) to restore natural resources harmed by the spill.

 

Three people cleaning an oiled bird.

Workers are cleaning a bird oiled during the July 2010 spill in Michigan.

Photo by Michigan DNR

 

Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration

Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) is the process used by federal, state and tribal governments to jointly seek compensation for natural resources injured or destroyed when areas are contaminated with oil or other hazardous substances. In the NRDAR process, government and tribal entities are called "trustees." Compensation sought through the process is then used by the trustees to restore fish, wildlife, and their habitat to pre-spill conditions, and to compensate the public for the lost use and enjoyment of those natural resources. Compensation is sought from the party responsible for the damage, in this case, Enbridge Energy.

 

Trustees

For the Michigan Enbridge Oil Spill, the trustees include the U.S. Department of Interior (represented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Attorney General, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, and the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi.

 

Damage Assessment

Within days of the spill, trustees began collecting data to understand the spill’s impact on natural resources and recreational use in and near the creek and river.  Since the spill, the Trustees have gathered information on water, fish, mussels, other invertebrates such as insects and crustaceans, vegetation, recovery and rehabilitation of oiled wildlife, recreational closures, as well as data collected by response agencies.  Based on information collected and reviewed by trustees during these efforts, and in accordance with state regulations and the Oil Pollution Act and NRDA, the trustees decided to conduct restoration planning to assess damages and restore those resources.

 

In the course of restoration planning, the trustees collected and reviewed data to identify and quantify different types of impacts from the spill. The trustees evaluated progress in the spill cleanup, work that Enbridge was doing to restore the impacted areas and provide for public use, and future work that they will be required to do by the State of Michigan.  The trustees also identified additional restoration projects that benefit the same or similar resources injured by the spill and could be used to compensate the public for losses to natural resources.  

 

Settlement

The Trustees reached a settlement for natural resource damages (NRD) in conjunction with a settlement between the State of Michigan and Enbridge that addresses cleanup along with provisions for certain restoration projects and compensation.  The NRD settlement provides funding to the Trustees to conduct natural resource restoration, reimburses agencies for assessment and restoration costs, and incorporates additional requirements for Enbridge from the settlement between the State of Michigan and Enbridge.  The two settlements together will result in restoration, compensation and reimbursement of costs expected to cost Enbridge at least $62 million.

 

The consent decree that settles all of the NRD claims was signed by the judge and entered in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Southern Division, on December 3, 2015.

 

News Release: Settlement Announced June 8, 2015

 

Consent Decree for Natural Resource Damages, Civil Action No. 1:15-cv-590

 

In the Final Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan (see below), the Trustees described how they plan implement the consent decree by conducting the following projects:

    • replace undersized culverts, remove existing obstacles to water flow, and increase floodplain capacity in two tributaries to the Kalamazoo River;
    • control Eurasian water milfoil, and other invasive species, within the Fort Custer State Recreation Area to provide improved habitat for warm water fisheries;
    • restore 175 acres of oak savanna uplands in Fort Custer State Recreation Area;
    • track and protect turtle reproduction in the impacted area of the Kalamazoo River;
    • restore wild rice beds in suitable areas along the Kalamazoo River;
    • document the historic use and knowledge of natural resources by members of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of the Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe) and the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi to guide restoration and stewardship.

 

The NRD settlement also incorporates certain requirements from the state’s settlement with Enbridge, including requirements to:

    • restore and monitor the 320 acres of wetlands affected by the spill and response activities;
    • permanently restore, create or otherwise protect at least 300 additional acres of wetland habitat in compensation for wetland losses;
    • evaluate stream function within the restored areas of Talmadge Creek and perform additional actions as needed;
    • conduct monitoring and restoration activities related to the removal of large woody debris during the spill response;
    • fund the State of Michigan to monitor fish contamination, fish populations and the health of stream bottom communities along Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.

 

Enbridge has already implemented additional projects that relate to losses of natural resources:

    • implemented  projects along the Kalamazoo River to enhance recreational opportunities at five locations
    • created the Kalamazoo River Community Recreational Foundation including a $2.5 million endowment to assure perpetual care of these projects
    • removed the dam at Ceresco on the Kalamazoo River and restored over 2.5 miles of river channel that was previously impounded. 

Restoration Plan

Final Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan

The Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment was finalized on October 20, 2015.  The final document includes responses to comments made by the public on the draft document as a result of the public comment period that was held in June and July of 2015.

 

Final Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment Adobe PDF icon (October 2015)

 

Appendix A: Photographs of the Areas ImpactedAdobe PDF icon

Appendix B: Floodplain Oilling Report Adobe PDF icon

Appendix C: Wildlife Response Report Adobe PDF icon

Appendix D: Lake Allegan Fish Kill Investigation Report Adobe PDF icon

Appendix E: Fish Health Assessment Report Adobe PDF icon

Appendix F: Health Assessment and Histopathologic Analyses of Fish Collected Adobe PDF icon

Appendix G: Fish Status and Trends Report 2010 Adobe PDF icon

Appendix H1: Macroinvertebrate Report 2010 Adobe PDF icon

Appendix H2: Macroinvertebrate Report 2011 Adobe PDF icon

Appendix H3: Macroinvertebrate Report 2012 Adobe PDF icon

Appendix I: Mussel Shell Survey Report Adobe PDF icon

Appendix J: Summary of Public Comments and Trustee Response Adobe PDF icon

Appendix K: Compilation of Public Comments Received on Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan / Environmental Assessment Adobe PDF icon

 

Decision Memorandum and Finding of No Significant Impact Adobe PDF icon

 

Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment

Before completing the final plan and environmental assessment, the Trustees asked for public comment on a Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment (DARP/EA).  The document described the harm caused by the pipeline rupture and the proposed suite of restoration projects designed to address these injuries and losses.  The Draft DARP/EA was available for public review and comment with a 45-day comment period that was open from June 12 to July 27, 2015.

 

Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment (May 2015)

 

Appendix A: Photographs of the Areas Impacted

Appendix B: Floodplain Oilling Report

Appendix C: Wildlife Response Report

Appendix D: Lake Allegan Fish Kill Investigation Report

Appendix E: Fish Health Assessment Report

Appendix F: Health Assessment and Histopathologic Analyses of Fish Collected

Appendix G: Fish Status and Trends Report 2010

Appendix H1: Macroinvertebrate Report 2010

Appendix H2: Macroinvertebrate Report 2011

Appendix H3: Macroinvertebrate Report 2012

Appendix I: Mussel Shell Survey Report

 

Reports and Additional Resources

Trustee reports and other documents for the Enbridge Line 6B Natural Resource Damage Assessment

 

Macroinvertebrate and Habitat Surveys of Sites Near the 2010 Enbridge Oil Spill Adobe PDF Icon (March 2018)

 

Fish and Habitat Survey of Sites Near the 2010 Enbridge Oil Spill Adobe PDF Icon (Nov. 2017)

 

Request for Proposals: Turtle Recruitment Enhancement in the Kalamazoo River Adobe PDF Icon (Oct. 2016)

 

Health Assessment and Histopathologic Analyses of Fish Collected from the Kalamazoo River, Michigan, Following Discharges of Diluted Bitumen Crude Oil from the Enbridge Line 6B July 3, 2014 (70-page PDF; 4.4MB)

 

Interim, Partial Claim for Assessment Costs Enbridge Line 6B Pipeline Discharge January 29, 2013 (28-page pdf Adobe PDF Icon)

 

2012 Vegetation Assessment Survey Work Plan July 23, 2012 (66-page PDF; 1.7MB Adobe PDF Icon

 

Criteria for Selection of Restoration Projects June 18, 2012 (2-page PDF Adobe PDF Icon)

 

Public Notice of Intent to Conduct Restoration Planning - - Discharge of Oil from the July 26, 2010 Enbridge Pipeline Release (March 2012; 11-page PDF)

 

News Release (March 1, 2012): Trustees to Begin Restoration Planning for 2010 Oil Spill Near Marshall, Michigan

 

Letter from Trustees to Enbridge (March 1, 2012; 2-page PDF)

 

Response to the Enbridge Oil Spill in Michigan

 

Recreational Use Assessment Plan (6-page PDFAdobe PDF Icon)

 

Assessment Framework (5-page PDF Adobe PDF Icon)

 

Administrative Record

 

2010 Oil Spill

 

Contacts

If you have any questions or comments related to the Michigan Enbridge NRDA, contact us via email or telephone:

 

Clark McCreedy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, East Lansing Field Office, 517-351-8273

Annette Trowbridge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3 NRDA Coordinator, 612-713-5104

 


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Last updated: April 2, 2018