The Big River Watershed Group held a public meeting to review and discuss the latest draft of the Southeast Missouri Ozarks Regional Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment.
The meeting, led by facilitator Mike Alesandrini, was held at Mineral Area College’s North College Center in Park Hills. Attendees included county and state agency representatives, civic leaders, industry representatives and members of the public.
The Big River Watershed is defined as the Big River stream, banks and floodplain, as well as the Flat River, Haney Creek and Shaw Branch tributaries.
The trustees for natural resources in southeast Missouri — the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources — have recovered monetary damages in excess of $41 million to restore natural resources and their services impacted by ASARCO lead contamination. The overwhelming majority of the settlement, totaling more than $33 million, has been set aside for the Big River mine tailings remediation and related work.
According to the assessment, the ASARCO settlement will result in:
• heavy metals cleanup;
• natural resources restoration efforts;
• St. Joe State Park cleanup and resource recovery; and
• other projects and agency efforts as determined.
It was said goals of the remediation and restoration process include healthy children and families; maintenance of quality of life; limited impact by agencies; participation of residents in policy process and decision-making and commercial projects; sustaining, enhancement and encouragement of commercial activity.
Key recommendations of the assessment include the maximizing and sustaining of outreach and educational efforts; developing a Technical Advisory Group to provide ongoing input to agencies; local participation in remediation and restoration efforts; stewardship; and setting project priorities.
Alesandrini said there will be one more meeting to go over the assessment draft and that Dec. 4 will be the end of the public comment period.
To access a copy of the assessment and appendices in .pdf format, go to: http://dnr.mo.gov/env/hwp/docs/semorrpfinaldraft2013.pdf and http://dnr.mo.gov/env/hwp/docs/semorrpfinaldraftappendices2013.pdf
To contact Alesandrini call 314-753-2416 or reach him by email at email@example.com.