A moose, locally dubbed “Monte”, enjoys a healthy evening meal in a clean wetland created as part of a Superfund habitat cleanup project, as a bird swoops above. Click on photo for larger view.
This project is the first of its kind in the Coeur d'Alene Basin, and an important step in addressing the Basin’s serious ecological contamination issues.
In 2011, EPA finished converting nearly 400 acres of agricultural property near Medimont to healthy wetland habitat. The area was made into clean feeding habitat for swans, ducks, and other wetland birds.
“Water birds feeding here are now safe from metals exposure. We hope to see even more birds as time goes on,” says EPA project manager Anne Dailey.
Waterfowl deaths have been recorded in the Basin for decades due to exposure to lead-contaminated sediment from upstream historic mining. This project, funded by settlement monies from the Asarco Trust, is a part of the interim Coeur d’Alene Basin Superfund cleanup plan and will reduce waterfowl exposure to toxic levels of heavy metals.
USFWS monitoring data shows that the remediated and restored clean habitat is attracting some of the highest levels of waterfowl usage, waterfowl feeding, and waterfowl diversity in the Coeur d’Alene Basin. Moreover, blood lead data suggest that waterfowl using the conservation easement are experiencing reduced exposures to lead. This project is the first of its kind in the Basin, and is an important step in addressing Basin serious ecological contamination issues.
The project was a collaborative effort between the property owner, USFWS, Ducks Unlimited, the Army Corps of Engineers, CH2M Hill, and EPA. USFWS and Ducks Unlimited will maintain the wetland over the long-tem under the Coeur d’Alene Basin Natural Trustee restoration plan. Together, we created a clean feeding habitat for migratory and resident wetland birds. The property is owned by a private party and will not be open to the public.
Agriculture to Wetland Project: Coeur d'Alene Basin Howard Orlean Excellence in Site reuse Award Presented to Mike and Brenda Schlepp (PDF)
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