[Federal Register: October 15, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 199)]
[Page 55955]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Partial Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment 
Addressing Injuries to Migratory Birds and Threatened and Endangered 
Species at the Tar Creek Superfund Site, Ottawa County, OK

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to protect habitat 
for the endangered gray bat, threatened Ozark cavefish and bald eagle, 
and migratory birds through acquisition of land in fee or easement, or 
management agreements with land owners. Such alternatives will provide 
partial compensation to the public for injuries to these trust 
resources from releases of hazardous chemicals from mining activities 
at the Tar Creek Superfund Site, Ottawa County, Oklahoma.

DATES: Written comments on the partial restoration plan and 
environmental assessment must be received within November 29, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft restoration plan and environmental 
asssessment are available on the Internet at http://ifw2es.fws.gov/
library, or requested from the Service at:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 222 South Houston, Suite A, Tulsa, 
Oklahoma 74127, 918/581-7458


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services (HC/EC), P.O. Box 
1306, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103, 505/248-6648

    Written data or comments should be submitted to the NRDAR 
Coordinator, Division of Habitat Conservation/Environmental 
Contaminants, Ecological Services, P.O. Box 1306, Albuquerque, New 
Mexico 87103, or via the website. All comments received, including 
names and addresses, will become part of the official administrative 
record and may be made available to the public.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Ecological Services, Division of Habitat Conservation/Environmental 
Contaminants, P.O. Box 1306, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103. Documents 
and other information submitted with these applications are available 
for review, subject to the requirements of the Privacy Act and Freedom 
of Information Act, by any party who submits a written request for a 
copy of such documents within November 29, 1999, to the address above.



    The Tar Creek Superfund site, located in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, 
is one of three superfund sites located within the Tri-State Mining 
District of Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The district contained 
multiple lead and zinc mines after the early 1900s which operated until 
deposits were depleted in the 1970's. Acidic groundwater surfacing 
through old air shafts and other openings contaminated the Tar Creek 
drainage and its associated wetlands and bottomland hardwoods. The 
bankruptcy of two major mining companies in the 1990's led the 
Department of Interior to collect partial damages for injuries to trust 
resources, specifically migratory birds and endangered and threatened 
species. Endangered and Threatened species of concern at the Site are 
endangered gray bat, and threatened Ozark cavefish and bald eagle. 
Alternatives for expenditure of the funds collected through these 
bankruptcies center on allowing the site to naturally restore itself 
through time (no action, Alternative A), or protection of habitat 
through acquisition in fee or easement, or management agreements with 
land owners (Alternatives B-D). Specifically Alternative B provides for 
the acquisition and protection of an Ottawa County endangered bat 
maternity cave, Alternative C protects high quality bottomland forest 
along the Neosho River, and Alternative D acquires and protects a large 
continuous stand of Ozark forest and Federally endangered bat caves in 
Adair County, Oklahoma.
    The no action alternative is not a preferred alternative because it 
takes no on-site restoration actions and accepts that there will be 
continued injuries at the site over a long period of time, yet provides 
no off-site actions to restore the injured or comparable resources. In 
addition, the no action alternative fails to use the recovered funds on 
restoration, as mandated by the natural resources provisions in the 
Superfund law. Since other alternatives provide some mix of protection 
to trust resources, all are viable candidates for implementation. 
Because costs of implementation for alternatives B--D will be achieved 
through negotiation with landowners, implementation of more than one 
alternative may be attainable as available funds are depleted. 
Alternatives B and C are closest to the site and Alternative D protects 
caves having the greatest threat from development. Because alternative 
B has potential available management, through the adjacent Boy Scout 
Camp, it is the preferred alternative. Alternative D follows, due to 
threat from development, and alternative C, due to its inherent 
significance to migratory birds and bat foraging habitat. 
Implementation of the preferred alternative will commence upon 
signature of the final Partial Restoration Plan, and associated Finding 
of No Significant Impact.
    The Service will place notices in the Tulsa World, a newspaper of 
general circulation in the state, the Daily Oklahoman, a newspaper 
circulated in the State Capitol and central and western Oklahoma, and 
the Miami Daily Herald, a newspaper circulated in the general area of 
the Site, and will make copies available at the Miami, Oklahoma Public 
Library concurrently with this Federal Register notice. Copies can also 
be obtained from the Internet at http://ifw2es.fws.gov/library.
    The current comment period on this proposal closes on November 29, 
1999. Written comments may be submitted to the Service office in the 
ADDRESSES section.


    The primary author of this notice is Karen E. Cathey (see 


    The authority for this action is the Comprehensive Environmental 
Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, through its 
Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) provisions 
(43 CFR Part 11).

    Dated: October 8, 1999.
Stephen W. Parry,
Acting Regional Director, Region 2, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 99-26932 Filed 10-14-99; 8:45 am]