Announcement: Final Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment Released for Portage Creek and Allied Paper Landfill (Operable Unit 1).
The natural resource trustees have released the Final Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment for natural resource damages associated with OU1 and the Portage Creek portion of the Kalamazoo River Superfund site. A draft plan was released for public review and comment in spring 2012. The final plan incorporates both additional information received during the public comment period and responses to public comments received. The plan describes restoration projects that can serve as compensation for injuries to natural resources related to PCB releases at and from the OU1 portion of the Superfund site.
Restoration projects will be implemented according to the prioritization described in the final plan, considering available funding. Removal of the Alcott Street Dam on Portage Creek in Kalamazoo is the first project the trustees will implement. Planning and design will be completed in 2013 with removal of the dam anticipated in 2014. Removing the dam will restore fish passage and improve stream habitat along Portage Creek. The trustees and partners are scoping additional habitat projects along Portage Creek through the conceptual design phase.
With the cooperation of all stakeholders, the trustees plan to dramatically improve the Kalamazoo River environment. The overall goal is to restore and maintain a riverine ecosystem with structural and functional components that mimic the Kalamazoo river corridor prior to modification by dams and waste disposal.
The trustees have developed the following preliminary restoration objectives:
- Diverse healthy ecosystem dominated by native or naturalized species, a naturally vegetated riparian zone, not a grassy park-like setting
- Habitat should meet requirements for semi-aquatic species, such as turtles, amphibians and reptiles (minimize rip rap or other hard barriers)
- “Riparian zone” encompasses the river valley between the upland forest on each side of river (not limited to the floodplain)
- riverine habitat should support diverse, healthy mussel beds as well as essential host fish (for transport of mussel larvae)
- in-stream movement of fish is restored to the maximum extent possible (pursuant to DNR management goals)
- habitat supports native important predator species such as mink, otter, eagles and others
- strive for continuity of riparian and forested habitat to link with Gun Lake and Fort Custer (to preserve genetic diversity of plant and animal communities)
- Enhance various types of wetlands habitat
- Enhance degraded areas, and protect existing areas, that provide important surface water/groundwater interchange (the hyporheic zone) - often associated with diverse plant communities.
- Restore natural river flow flux and channel forming geophysical forces to allow meandering channel and dynamic floodplain
- Provide substrate that supports ecosystem and species management objectives (not artificial or non-supporting material)
- Water, nutrient and particulate input and flow is restored to that consistent with vegetated watershed
- Achieve reductions in non-point source pollutant loading
- Increased public access pursuant to decisions by State land managers
- Provide access without degradation to existing (or restored) habitat
Other Remediation Goals
- Eliminate loading of PCBs to Lake Michigan
- Eliminate the fish consumption advisory for PCBs on the Kalamazoo
- Balance short-term habitat losses with overall restoration objectives
- Consider potential habitat uses in contained areas (e.g. prairie)
- Remedy does not “transfer” or create problems in adjacent areas