Tittabawassee River Natural Resource Damage Assessment Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge Restoration Project
Provides funding for restoration enhancements expected to improve over 2,700 acres

Tittabawassee River Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Overview

On July 27, 2020, a settlement with the Dow Chemical Company to address federal, state, and tribal claims for natural resource damages in the Tittabawassee River System was finalized. The settlement is for an estimated $77 million in projects and funding that will restore fish, wildlife, and habitats injured following releases of hazardous substances in past decades from Dow’s manufacturing facility in Midland, Michigan. Under the settlement, Dow will implement or fund a number of restoration projects identified in Midland, Bay, Saginaw, and nearby counties.  The natural resource Trustees evaluated a range of restoration actions and alternatives which would provide benefits to natural resources to compensate the public for losses to natural resources injured by releases from Dow's Midland plant and published the Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Tittabawassee River System.

Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge Restoration Project

As part of the settlement, Dow will provide $3.25 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue restoration work in the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). Priority uses of the funding include the following:

  • Re-configuring dikes and water control structures to improve water flow and fish movement among units of the Refuge (e.g. Butch’s Marsh, Eagle Marsh, North Marsh, adjacent moist soil areas) and the Cass River
  • Improving water flow and controls between Maankiki Marsh and the Ferguson Bayou
  • Converting a former farm field to a new moist soil unit that could then be managed to benefit shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl, and other species that depend on a mosaic of wetland types throughout the migration and breeding seasons
  • Monitoring and management of improved areas over time

 

Benefits from these projects are expected to include:

  • Improved fish communities on the Refuge
  • Increased fish reproduction with young fish able to reach the Cass River, Spaulding Drain, and Shiawassee River
  • Improved water quality downstream of the Refuge
  • Lower costs for managing vegetation by changing water levels to help kill invasive plants and thus using less herbicide

 

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