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Freshwater creek running through the bottomland hardwood habitat of Simmons Tract.
Freshwater creek running through the bottomland hardwood habitat of Simmons Tract.

The latest on the Ciba-Geigy Natural Resource Damages Assessment Restoration Efforts in McIntosh, Alabama

March 29, 2021

The trustees working on the Ciba-Geigy Natural Resource Damages Assessment (NRDA) restoration efforts recently completed the acquisition of two tracts of seasonally flooded bottomland wetlands near the Mobile River called the Rigsby tract and the Simmons tract, totaling over 330 acres of protected habitat. Land acquisition was identified as a preferred project alternative in the 2017 Restoration Plan and Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PDF, 104 pages). The preferred alternatives also included enhancing and restoring habitat on existing state-owned lands, and habitat enhancement and restoration of newly acquired lands. 

The Rigsby tract is 41 acres just south of I-65 and will serve as a vital connection to nearly 2,000 acres of existing state-owned property in the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. The tract is primarily comprised of bottomland hardwood habitat including hardwood, cypress, and tupelo, which are similar to habitats injured on and near the Ciba-Geigy site. One key characteristic of the Rigsby tract is that it will provide the needed upland access to the adjacent state-owned property for our staff and partners to facilitate future habitat enhancement and other restoration activities.

The Simmons tract is 290 acres along the Tensaw River north of the General W.K. Wilson Jr. Bridge. This property has similar habitat types to the Rigsby tract and represents an important tract of land that connects other protected properties in the Upper Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. 

The next step will include an evaluation of the acquired tracts to determine the appropriate site-specific restoration activities, including hydrologic restoration, habitat enhancement, and invasive species removal. The activities will enhance the properties’ existing ecological values and further offset the injuries to natural resources from the releases of hazardous substances at and from the Ciba-Geigy Site. We also expect to conduct site-specific restoration of other existing state-owned tracts, including those adjacent to the Rigsby and Simmons tracts. We are working on a restoration and management plan, accordingly. 

Funds for these restoration efforts were obtained as part of a 2013 NRDA settlement between the BASF Corporation and the Trustees. The Ciba-Geigy Natural Resource Trustees include the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on behalf of the U.S. Department of Interior, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Geological Survey of Alabama.


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View of bottomland hardwood habitat at the Simmons Tract along the Tensaw River