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Natural Resource Damage Compensation Site

Natural Resource Damage Compensation Site

Burlington, Vt


The Challenge

The Responding Parties (RPs) for the Pine Street Canal Superfund remediation project in Burlington, Vermont, were also responsible for natural resource damages assessed by the Natural Resource Trustees, both state and federal. The Trustees judged that wetland habitat services at the Pine Street site had been degraded by the site contamination.

The Solution

The natural resource damages process for this site was approached in a collaborative manner between the RPs and the Trustees. JCO, representing the RPs, worked collaboratively with representatives for the State and Federal Trustees to initially identify potential projects. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was the lead agency for the Federal Trustees, and the Vermont Wetlands Office was the lead agency for the State Trustees. The site for the restoration project, a formerly constructed pond at the Howe Farm site, was selected.

JCO designed a restoration project that was determined by the Trustees to provide adequate compensation. The site was a 26-acre pond originally constructed as mitigation for a highway project that had not achieved the mitigation goals due to faulty design. JCO designed a project to re-shape and re-grade the pond edge and plant desirable wetlands and uplands vegetation resulting in a more natural riparian habitat to provide the range of wetland habitat values appropriate for the area. A conservation easement on an adjacent property was secured to protect the restoration area in perpetuity. The Natural Resource Damage compensation project was specified in the Consent Decree.

JCO developed construction bid documents, supervised construction of the project, and monitored it for five years. Monitoring reports were prepared for the Trustees that documented the restoration progress leading to Certification of Completion letters from the Trustees.

The Benefits

The collaborative work with the Trustees resulted in a mutually acceptable restoration project that was implemented in the same time period as the Superfund site. This timely implementation reduced the time period for the Natural Resource Damage Assessment liability for the Trustees. The project was determined to be a success by the Trustees after the first 5-year monitoring period.