Environmental Agencies Seek Natural Resource Restoration Ideas–October 3 Meeting in Woburn to Launch Aberjona River Watershed Restoration Planning

Members of the public are encouraged to help the Natural Resource Trustee Council for the Industri-Plex Superfund Site develop a plan to restore wetland, stream and pond habitats within the Aberjona River sub-watershed.  The Trustee Council will present an overview of the restoration process and opportunities for public involvement on Wednesday, October 3, at 7:00 PM at the Woburn City Hall at 10 Common Street.

The Natural Resource Trustee Council for the Industri-Plex Superfund Site settlement is comprised of: the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, representing Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, representing the Department of the Interior; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program, Trustee councils identify the natural resources injured, determine the extent of the injuries, recover damages from those responsible, and plan and carry out natural resource restoration activities. The primary benefit of the program is that injured natural resources can be restored at no cost to the American taxpayers. Instead, the parties responsible for the injuries pay for the restoration.

The intent of the restoration projects is to restore, replace, or acquire natural resources and natural resource services harmed by the release of hazardous substances from the Industri-Plex Superfund Site in Woburn, Massachusetts.  Chemical manufacturing and glue-making operations dating back to the 19th century contaminated the Site with arsenic, lead, and chromium. Contaminants released into the Aberjona River and other surface waters (ponds, streams, wetlands) and soils impacted the fish and wildlife that rely upon these habitats.

Up to $3.9 million dollars is available to fund natural resource restoration projects in the Aberjona River sub-watershed.

At the public meeting, agency representatives will describe 1) the natural resource injuries that led to the monetary settlement; 2) the types of restoration projects eligible for inclusion in the restoration plan; 3) the process by which restoration project ideas will be evaluated; and 4) the timeline for drafting, finalizing and implementing the restoration plan.  Attendees will also have an opportunity to provide restoration project ideas. The agencies will evaluate project ideas suggested at the public meeting – as well as those suggested by natural resource management experts, municipalities and other stakeholders – and develop a Draft Restoration Plan. The Draft Restoration Plan will then be made available to the public for review and comment.

The Natural Resource Trustee Council for the Industri-Plex Superfund Site looks forward to working with the public on identifying and implementing restoration projects that will benefit natural resources in the areas affected by the Industri-Plex site.