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Natural Resources "Face Lift" in Northeast Ohio

"It�s been a long time coming." This phrase has been uttered many times over the past few months as the Fields Brook Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment reaches one of the final hurdles towards implementation.

The plan, which was prepared by Ohio ES Field Office and Ohio EPA Northeast District Office, is out for a 60 day public review this spring. It has undergone careful initial review by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association, Ohio Department of Natural Resources and other interested government agencies.

The plan addresses natural resources injured and ecological services lost due to the releases of hazardous substances from the Fields Brook Superfund Site. The settlement for natural resources damages was obtained through the Natural Resources Damage Assessment process under Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

Fields Brook, located approximately 55 miles east of Cleveland in the city and county of Ashtabula, is a 5.6 square mile watershed. The brook is a tributary to the Ashtabula River that flows into Lake Erie. Manufacturing activities, ranging from metal fabrication to chemical production, have occurred in this area since the early 1940s. The decades of manufacturing activity and waste management practices at industrial facilities resulted in the discharge or release of a variety of hazardous substances to Fields Brook and its watershed, including the floodplain and wetlands area. Contaminates include PCBs, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and heavy metals.

As part of the larger Lake Erie and Great Lakes eco-region, the Fields Brook area, including the Ashtabula River, forms a unique and important ecosystem. Once in its final form, the plan will help guide efforts in accomplishing the goal of restoring, rehabilitating, replacing and/or acquiring the equivalent of those resources that have been injured. Potential project ideas range from wetland preservation to fishery resources enhancement. Restoration project ideas from the public are encouraged during the ongoing process of selecting specific restoration projects. The implementation of restoration projects will occur over time, depending upon the project type.

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Last updated: February 20, 2012