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Sheboygan River and Harbor
Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration
Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Sheboygan River and Harbor Site Released
In accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, notice is hereby given that the Natural Resource Trustees (Trustees) for the Sheboygan River and Harbor site (the Site) have approved their Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (Final RP/EA) for the Site. The Final RP/EA presents the types of restoration projects the trustees have selected to implement to restore natural resources and services injured by hazardous substances released in and around the Site.
In a settlement with Tecumseh Products Company, Thomas Industries, and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, the Trustees received approximately $4,500,000 to support restoration, preservation, recreational enhancements, and past Trustee costs relevant to assessing natural resource injuries. In the Final RP/EA, the Trustees selected two habitat preservation projects as partial compensation for natural resources injuries: (1) The acquisition of Amsterdam Dunes property, approximately 184 acres abutting Lake Michigan within the Sheboygan River Basin; and (2) the acquisition of the Willow Creek property, a unique, 140-acre urban open space located within the City of Sheboygan. Future restoration projects at either of the habitat preservation sites or at other sites in the identified restoration area will cumulatively restore injuries to wildlife and aquatic habitat resources and their lost uses that occurred when hazardous substances were released at the Site.
The Trustees released their Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Site for review and public comment in November 2017. The Trustees considered the public comments received, which informed the Trustees’ analyses and selection of the restoration projects in the Final RP/EA. The Trustees for the Site are the U.S. Department of the Interior (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), the U.S. Department of Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and the State of Wisconsin (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources).
The Sheboygan River and Harbor site is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan, approximately 55 miles north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It includes the lower 14 miles of the Sheboygan River from Sheboygan Falls to the Sheboygan Harbor.
Industrial activities along the Sheboygan River released polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), heavy metals, and oil residues within the waterway and the surrounding environment. As a result, the U.S. EPA designated the lower 14 miles of the Sheboygan River a Superfund Site. The U.S. EPA and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are working to clean up the contaminants in the river system.
Meanwhile, the Trustees for natural resources are conducting a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). NRDA is the process of collecting, compiling, and analyzing information and data through prescribed methodologies to determine the amount and type of restoration projects needed to compensate the public for injuries to natural resources. Trustees then seek damages (i.e., compensation in the form of money or restoration projects) from those responsible for the contamination.
The Trustees for the Site, acting on behalf of the public, include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the state of Wisconsin, represented by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The Trustees signed a Memorandum of Agreement in the spring of 2012.
In the summer of 2012, the Trustees also signed a Pre-assessment Screen (PAS) document. The purpose of a PAS is to provide a rapid review of readily available information on natural resources at the Site to ensure that there is a reasonable probability of making a successful claim before monies and efforts are expended in carrying out a natural resource damage assessment. The Trustees’ PAS for the Sheboygan River and Harbor Site documents a Trustee decision to proceed with a natural resource damage assessment based on extensive information regarding releases of hazardous substances and impacts to natural resources.
The potentially responsible parties (those parties who may be responsible for injury to natural resources and resulting damages) have been informed that the NRDA process is moving forward. The Trustees are currently engaged in the assessment planning process.
April 19, 2013: Notice of Intent to Perform a Natural Resources Damage Assessment; Sheboygan River and Harbor Superfund Site (2-page PDF )
May 2012: Pre-Assessment Screen for the Sheboygan River and Harbor (34-page PDF ; 4MB)
Appendix A: Fish Consumption Advisories (117-page PDF ; 5.5MB)
March 2012: Natural Resource Trustee Memorandum of Agreement for the Sheboygan River and Harbor Site (13-page PDF )
Links to Partners
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NRDA Webpage
U.S. EPA Sheboygan River and Harbor Superfund Webpage
U.S. EPA Campmarina Webpage
If you have any questions concerning information found in any of these reports or any other comments related to the Sheboygan River and Harbor NRDA, contact us by email or telephone:
Betsy Galbraith, Case Manager, 920-866-1753
Annette Trowbridge, Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Coordinator, 612-713-5104