Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
$850K settlement will help protect property, restore fish and wildlife habitat in northern Vermont

July 15, 2019

Contact(s):

VT ANR contact info: Elle O’Casey 802-760-9967
Meagan Racey (U.S. Fish & Wildlife) 413-253-8558



LOWELL, EDEN – State and federal environmental officials announced today that an $850,000 settlement related to the Vermont Asbestos Group mine site will fund multiple stream habitat restoration projects benefiting fish, wildlife and the communities of Lowell and Eden, Vermont, where the mine is located.

“In improving local infrastructure, these projects will help prevent erosion and reduce flood risks in Lowell and Eden”, said Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore.  “In addition, these restoration projects will improve fishing opportunities and benefit Eastern brook trout as well as a host of other local fish and wildlife species.”

The settlement was secured by the federal and state government during bankruptcy proceedings with a previous owner of the mine. The funds must be used to compensate the public for injuries to habitats resulting from the runoff from the mine into surrounding streams and wetlands. The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (collectively, the natural resource trustees for the site) are responsible for selecting and implementing natural resource restoration projects that will restore, replace or acquire the equivalent of the natural resources that were injured. 

The trustees worked with the communities of Lowell and Eden, along with a variety of local, state and federal natural resource organizations to identify potential projects. In 2018, the trustees released a draft Restoration Plan with proposals for specific restoration projects. After considering and responding to public comment, the trustees have published the final Restoration Plan for the settlement.  To download a copy of the plan, please visit, http://dec.vermont.gov/waste-management/contaminated-sites or https://www.fws.gov/newengland/ .

The trustees will partner with the Town of Eden, Town of Lowell, Lamoille County Conservation District, Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, and the Vermont Agency of Transportation to fund multiple projects in Eden and Lowell, with a focus on replacing road culverts to improve fish passage and controlling road erosion to improve water quality in streams.

A 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study found that every mile of river opened so that fish can move freely can contribute more than $500,000 in social and economic benefits once fish populations are at their full productivity (https://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2011/pdf/fisherieseconomicreport.pdf).  “By focusing these natural resource funds on stream restoration,” says U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service New England Field Office Supervisor, Tom Chapman, “the communities of Lowell and Eden will see numerous benefits to water quality, fishing opportunities, and the wildlife that depend on these streams.  We look forward to our work with state and local partners to make these projects a reality.”

 


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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