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Superfund settlement to bring nearly $25 million for Raritan watershed restoration


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That's a whole lotta dams and river restoration work over coming years!  Here is the Cliff Notes version and the full version below:  Cornell-Dubilier Superfund site fines are at least in part with US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS).  There will be about $25,000,000 available to remove dams on the mainstem Raritan and many of its tributaries including some projects my firm is currently working on behind the scenes.  This has been many years in the making, and I remember writing up justifications for many of the projects that appear will receive funding and wondering if it was all just a waste of time 3 or 4 years ago now.  This is great news for American shad, river herring, striped bass, American eels, and brook trout in addition to many introduced species such as smallmouth and brown trout to name two. 

FWS press release issued today:

 

 Cornell-Dubilier Superfund Site Trustees Release a Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for 30-Day Public Comment Resources Affected: Surface water and sediments, floodplain emergent and forested wetlands and associated open waters, benthic stream bed habitat and recreational fishing. The natural resource Trustees for the Cornell-Dubilier Electronics Superfund Site are considering a series of projects to restore and protect wildlife habitat and water quality and increase recreation opportunities in the Raritan River Watershed, as outlined in a Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment released today for public comment through March 10, 2021. The draft plan can be found at https://www.cerc.usgs.gov/orda_docs/DocHandler.ashx?task=get&ID=6394. The Trustees solicited restoration project ideas from the public from late 2018 to April 2019. An email requesting participation in an on-line survey was sent to every county (7) and municipal office (70) in the Raritan-Millstone Watershed along with 63 NGO’s and academic institutions. All of the responses received from the public were given consideration by the Trustees. The project scoping document, which is not subject to a public review requirement, is entitled Restoration Project Scoping Report for the Cornell Dubilier Electronics, Inc. Superfund Site Natural Resources Trustee Council and can be found at: https://pubdata.diver.orr.noaa.gov/admin-record/6229/CornellDubilier_RestorationScopingReport.pdf The Cornell-Dubilier Electronics Superfund Site originated from a 26-acre former electronic components manufacturing facility in South Plainfield, New Jersey. PCBs and other hazardous substances released from the site contaminated soils and groundwater, as well as the surface water, soils, and sediments of adjacent creeks, including Bound Brook, a tributary to the Raritan River. Fish and wildlife that rely upon these habitats were injured due to the release of these hazardous substances. Through various court proceedings and settlements, the Trustees recovered damages for injuries to natural resources; funds will be used to implement selected ecological and recreational restoration projects in the Raritan River watershed. Proposed restoration projects are evaluated in the Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment, which is available for public comment for 30 days through March 10, 2021. Proposed projects include dam removal, fish passage improvements, riparian restoration, mussel restoration, trash traps, various river access and recreational use projects, outreach/education, and "green" stormwater management. The draft plan identifies 11 Tier I projects and 9 Tier II projects. Tier I projects will take priority for funding; Tier II projects may be funded if residual funds are available, until all settlement funds are exhausted. The Trustees, including NOAA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection are seeking comments on the draft plan through March 10, 2021. To submit comments, please email Cathy Marion, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service New Jersey Field Office, at Cathy_Marion@fws.gov, with the subject line “Cornell-Dubilier Draft Restoration Plan Comment” no later than March 10, 2021. Written comments, postmarked by March 10, 2021, can be mailed to: Cathy Marion ℅ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service New Jersey Field Office 4 E. Jimmie Leeds Road, Suite 4 Galloway, New Jersey 08205

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Here are the working links for those interested or for those having problems sleeping (reading this report will put you right to bed):

 

   https://pub-data.diver.orr.noaa.gov/admin-record/6229/CornellDubilier_RestorationScopingReport.pdf

and...

https://www.cerc.usgs.gov/orda_docs/DocHandler.ashx?task=get&ID=6394

 

Please take a look at your favorite river(s) and write letters of support to FWS and be heard.  Not every project listed will receive all or partial funding.   

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This should  put a lot of people to work, hopefully New Jersey Businesses will get the contracts, or out of state contractors will hire from NJ

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Over the years the US has sent many of its fine young men & women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return, is enough to bury those that did not return. COLIN POWELL

 

 

 

 

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State will hire some guys cousin that does the job with a sledge hammer and a shovel .

 

just like the dredge project in Shark river for the channels .

guy tried to do the job with gilligans raft and a pumper instead of hiring Currituck to do it right 

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43 minutes ago, bushden said:

This should  put a lot of people to work, hopefully New Jersey Businesses will get the contracts, or out of state contractors will hire from NJ

I'm an out of state contractor :) 

These are not government hiring jobs.  At least not the projects I know about.  Instead, conservation organizations like watershed organizations take lead and they hire the firm or firms they are most comfortable with.  There are currently 0 river restoration firms located in NJ.  Our sales office (my house in Flanders, NJ) is our East Coast office, but our headquarters are in Montana.  But there will be lots of locals working in the various projects, local engineering firms, locals delivering boulders and coir matting, growing the native trees and shrubs needed to plant once a project is completed, and other supplies for restoration.  But some dam removals use local heavy equipment operators as does my firm.  Heavyop from this site is one of our team.  He kicks butt in the river.  

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11 minutes ago, hammer4reel said:

State will hire some guys cousin that does the job with a sledge hammer and a shovel .

 

just like the dredge project in Shark river for the channels .

guy tried to do the job with gilligans raft and a pumper instead of hiring Currituck to do it right 

The State isn't directly involved in the restoration work other than issuing permits.  They worked with EPA and US Fish & Wildlife and others to get to where we are today.  But FWS oversees these funds and they are excellent at getting those funds on the ground and getting great projects done.  One of the few federal agencies I enjoy working with instead of wanting to run away yelling and screaming....

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