What’s in store for MA, RI after 2003 Bouchard Barge 120 oil spill?

Tonight our New England staff are meeting with southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island communities around Buzzards Bay to share our proposal to use $4.8 million in oil spill settlement funds to fund projects restoring public access and recreational use of natural resources and restoring some shoreline and aquatic areas.

“I’m thrilled that we have the opportunity to work with our partners and the public to improve the quality of Buzzards Bay and surrounding natural areas,” said Tom Chapman, the head of our New England Field Office.

Bouchard oil spill settlement funds of nearly $1 million would provide the critical remaining money necessary for the Buzzards Bay Coalition and multiple land conservation partners to protect nearly 450 acres of coastal habitat in Fairhaven and Mattapoisett, Mass. Credit:  Buzzards Bay Coalition

Bouchard oil spill settlement funds of nearly $1 million would provide the critical remaining money necessary for the Buzzards Bay Coalition and multiple land conservation partners to protect nearly 450 acres of coastal habitat in Fairhaven and Mattapoisett, Mass. Credit: Buzzards Bay Coalition.

Here's an aerial view of Round Hill Marsh in Dartmouth, Mass. The central portion was filled nearly 100 years ago. Under the proposal, fill would be excavated from the historic salt marsh and tidal flow would be re-connected to restore up to 12 acres of salt marsh. The opportunity to reclaim this valuable coastal ecosystem is only possible because of a partnership and cost-sharing effort utilizing Bouchard oil spill settlement funds, New Bedford Harbor NRDAR settlement money, and a grant from the DOI Hurricane Sandy Resiliency effort. Credit: Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration.

Here’s an aerial view of Round Hill Marsh in Dartmouth, Mass. The central portion was filled nearly 100 years ago. Under the proposal, fill would be excavated from the historic salt marsh and tidal flow would be re-connected to restore up to 12 acres of salt marsh. The opportunity to reclaim this valuable coastal ecosystem is only possible because of a partnership and cost-sharing effort utilizing Bouchard oil spill settlement funds, New Bedford Harbor NRDAR settlement money, and a grant from the DOI Hurricane Sandy Resiliency effort. Credit: Massachusetts Division of Ecological Restoration.

Check out the below post from another one of the natural resources trustees in the proposal, our partner NOAA.

NOAA's Response and Restoration Blog

A large barge is being offloaded next to a tugboat in the ocean. On April 27, 2003, Bouchard Barge 120 was being offloaded after initial impact with a submerged object, causing 98,000 gallons of oil to spill into Massachusett’s Buzzards Bay. (NOAA)

The Natural Resource Damages Trustee Council for the Bouchard Barge 120 oil spill have released a draft restoration plan (RP) and environmental assessment (EA) [PDF] for shoreline, aquatic, and recreational use resources impacted by the 2003 spill in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

It is the second of three anticipated plans to restore natural resources injured and uses affected by the 98,000-gallon spill that oiled roughly 100 miles of shoreline in Buzzards Bay. A $6 million natural resource damages settlement with the Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc. is funding development and implementation of restoration, with $4,827,393 awarded to restore shoreline and aquatic resources and lost recreational uses.

The draft plan evaluates alternatives to restore resources in the following categories of injuries resulting from…

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