Trustees Seek Comments on Project to Protect Unique Habitat in Wisconsin

Amsterdam Dunes, a rare Great Lakes coastal dune and swale habitat, will be preserved as part of the proposed settlement.
Amsterdam Dunes, a rare Great Lakes coastal dune and swale habitat, will be preserved as part of the proposed settlement.

Trustees Seek Comments on Project to Protect Unique Habitat in Wisconsin

December 13, 2017

On December 12, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a press release announcing three settlements, with three separate companies, in excess of $4.5 million for natural resource damages at the Sheboygan River & Harbor Superfund site. These settlements will resolve claims brought by NOAA and its co- trustees regarding liability for historic industrial discharges of chemicals that caused injury to public natural resources. The settlements will include proposed projects that protect 324 acres of unique habitat and improve public recreational access. The co-trustees will jointly manage the funds to implement restoration projects described in the restoration plan.

According to the settlement, Tecumseh Products Co., Thomas Industries, Inc., and Wisconsin Public Service Corp., are liable for historic industrial discharges of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and/or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) into the Sheboygan River. PCBs and PAHs were identified in river sediments at different locations throughout the Site in sufficient concentrations to cause injury to many types of natural resources, including invertebrates, fish, amphibians, birds, and mammals. In addition, PCB have resulted in the loss of recreational fishing services.

The Sheboygan River site encompasses the lower 14 river miles of the Sheboygan River, from Sheboygan Falls downstream to and including the Sheboygan Harbor on Lake Michigan, as well as adjoining floodplain areas.

The settlement consent decrees are available on the Department of Justice website, and the public is encouraged to comment until January 18, 2018.

The public may also comment on the Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment and proposed restoration projects until January 18, 2018. Additional printed copies of the Sheboygan River and Harbor Natural Resource Damage Assessment Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment are available at the Mead Public Library in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.