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An aerial view of a section of the Kalamazoo River. Image: EPA
An aerial view of a section of the Kalamazoo River. Image: EPA

Comment on More than $12 Million in Projects Proposed to Restore the Kalamazoo River

April 12, 2021

NOAA and the Kalamazoo River natural resource TrusteesGovernment officials acting on behalf of the public when there is injury to, destruction of, loss of, or threat to natural resources. released a Draft Supplemental Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (PDF, 104 pages) for public comment through May 14, 2021. The restoration plan includes a suite of 14 projects that if approved would be funded with up to $12.4 million in settlement funds from companies responsible for pollution in the Kalamazoo River waterways.

An overview of the draft restoration plan will be presented and discussed at an online public meeting on Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 6 p.m. ET. Information on how to submit public comments, and the public meeting are below.

Draft Supplemental Restoration Plan and Proposed Projects

Exemplifying strong engagement with communities impacted by pollution in the Kalamazoo River, the suite of 14 projects in the draft restoration plan were selected from ideas that were submitted by the public through an online restoration portal in 2020. 

The full list of restoration projects, which include dam removals, habitat acquisitions and protection, river restoration and others can be found in section 3.1, page 27 of the draft restoration plan (PDF, 104 pages).

How Projects Were Selected

Project ideas that were received prior to the Trustees’ March 2020 deadline were evaluated against criteria set forth in the 2016 Final Restoration Plan and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PDF, 297 pages). The Natural Resource Trustees will continue to solicit restoration project ideas and propose projects for implementation in the Kalamazoo River watershed until all current and future funds are appropriately expended.

Submit Public Comment and Attend the April 29 Public Meeting

Submit Public Comment

The Trustees invite public review and comment on the restoration plan, including the proposed suite of selected projects. Please submit written comments via:

  • Email to: (please put “Kzoo SRP Comment” in the subject line)

  • Mail to:
    Lisa Williams, USFWS
    2651 Coolidge Road, Suite 101
    East Lansing, MI 48823.

Attend the Online Public Meeting

During the online public meeting on Thursday, April 29 at 6 p.m. ET, the Trustees will explain the restoration process and the implementation plan, discuss specific proposed projects, and answer questions. The meeting will be recorded and posted online for later viewing for those who are unable to attend the live event.

To attend the online public information meeting: 

  • Date and Time: Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 6 p.m. ET

  • Register at After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Pre-registration is not required to attend the meeting. Individuals interested in participating can click the link above at the start of the event 6:00 PM

  • Join by phone only: please use the following phone number: 636-651-3142 and use conference code 374-288.

  • Language assistance or other accommodations: Contact John Riley at 517-897-2398 by April 15, 2021.

Next Steps and Background on the Site

After the public comment period, Trustees will consider comments and may revise the restoration plan accordingly. Projects selected in a final restoration plan and environmental assessment will be funded with a portion of $10 million in settlement funds from NCR Corporation and over $2 million in remaining bankruptcy proceeds from Millennium Holdings and Plainwell Paper, Inc. Approximately $2 million in additional restoration funds will become available from the NCR settlement each year for the next seven years. 

Paper mills conducting carbonless copy paper recycling released PCBs polychlorinated biphenyls; a class of chemicals previously used in manufacturing that remain in the environment for many decades, accumulate in living creatures, and pose health hazards to humans, wildlife, and fish. into the soils, sediments, floodplains and surface water in the Kalamazoo River and Portage Creek from the late 1950s through early 1970s. This resulted in injuries to fish, mammals, birds and other natural resources. The state of Michigan continues to issue fish consumption advisories in areas of the site impacted by PCBs. 

The Natural Resource Trustees for the site are NOAA, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Michigan Department of Attorney General, and the U.S. Department of the Interior represented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

More Information