Midwest Region
Conserving the Nature of America

Restoring Roxana Marsh: Two Decades in the Making

Working side-by-side with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Indiana Department of Environmental Management (DEM), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) celebrated completion of a two-decade project to clean up portions of the Grand Calumet River and Roxana Marsh in Indiana, highly contaminated by heavy metals, oil and man-made chemicals.

Federal, state and local representatives including Service Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley, EPA Senior Advisor Cameron Davis, Indiana DNR Deputy Director John Davis, Indiana DEM co-trustee Beth Admire, and Congressman Pete Visclosky, came together to acknowledge the successful partnership that has restored over 25 acres of wetlands and remediated 2.5 miles of the river. To date, the entire cleanup in the Grand Calumet River has addressed just under 730,000 cubic yards of sediment. This effort was jointly funded by the Great Lakes Legacy Act and Natural Resources Damage Assessment funds.

“The great thing about restoring a place like Roxana Marsh is that the benefits ripple out from the center. We have helped put back a piece of this community – not just the fish and wildlife community, but the human one as well,” said Deputy Regional Director Charles Wooley. “This is a jewel for the people here – we already have schools involved, and kids taking part in making this community a source of pride for all residents.”

Through the 1990s and early 2000s, this dedicated group of partners and their colleagues and peers persevered to bring the importance of restoring Roxana Marsh and portions of the Grand Calumet River forward to parties responsible for the contamination, and secure a settlement with local industries under the Natural Resources Damage Assessment Program. The program is designed to identify and assess the damage to fish, wildlife and habitat caused by contamination.

The Natural Resources Damage Assessment provides a mechanism for responsible parties to pay for the cost of restoring fish, wildlife and habitat lost to contaminants. Work is ongoing to restore and vegetate the marsh. Once complete the marsh will provide habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

Charlie Wooley Speaking Event

Charles Wooley, Deputy Regional Director of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, thanks representatives from partner agencies for leading the charge for restoration of Roxana Marsh in Indiana, a highly contaminated Natural Resource Damage Assessment site along the Grand Calumet River. (FWS photo)

Last updated: June 15, 2016