MISSOURI (KFVS) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced on Tuesday, April 19 a proposal to invest nearly $2 million in several restoration and development projects in areas of southeast Missouri impacted by decades of lead mining.
Four proposals have been submitted to the Missouri Trustee Council, which is overseeing the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) settlement funds.
The funding for the proposed projects in Madison and St. Francois counties would come from a settlement to compensate for natural resources damaged by the historic mining activities of ASARCO. The Missouri Trustee Council includes representatives from the State of Missouri and the federal Fish and Wildlife Service.
"We're committed to addressing the legacy of lead and to improving the health and well-being of our communities, and by working with our local and federal partners, we are delivering on that commitment," Gov. Nixon said. "I look forward to continuing to work diligently with local leaders to identify additional projects."
The proposals include:
- The former Little St. Francois River chat pile in Madison County. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) has requested $98,350 from the Trustee Council to restore native vegetation at the site of the former mine waste pile south of Fredericktown City Lake. Lead contaminated materials have been removed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, allowing for ecological restoration of the former mine waste site to include wildlife habitat.
- The Logtown Branch and Slime Creek tributaries of the Little St. Francois River in Madison County. MDNR has requested $500,000 from the Trustee Council to restore stream bank, riparian corridor and floodplain areas of Logtown Branch and Slime Creek. Restoration will be conducted in the watershed where EPA will be addressing lead contamination from former mining operations. This portion of the Madison County Mines Superfund Site has been identified by EPA as a significant contributing source of mining waste to the Little St. Francois River and Fredericktown City Lake.
- The “Bone Hole” area in St. Francois County. MDNR has requested $250,000 from the Trustee Council to restore wildlife habitat at the Bone Hole, which is part of a 40-acre county park in St. Francois County. The Department of Natural Resources was also awarded $812,286 by EPA to remove lead-contaminated soil and mine waste from the site, in addition to capping and stabilizing mine waste near Owl Creek.
- City of Park Hills (Haney Park) in St. Francois County. DNR has requested $200,000 from the Trustee Council for Flat River Creek stream bank and riparian corridor restoration projects. EPA recently completed remedial actions on a large section of the Flat River Creek floodplain at Haney Park, but additional restoration of riparian natural resources and measures to address bank erosion is necessary. This project will address the riparian natural resources and pre-existing bank erosion issues. In addition, Missouri State Parks recently awarded $74,394 to the City of Park Hills for park improvements at Haney Park.
Combined, funding for the four projects is $1,935, 030. Last month, the governor announced that an additional $250,000 in ASARCO settlement funding had been set aside to southeast Missouri Soil and Water Districts to assist landowners with conservation projects to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality.
In addition to the proposals submitted to the Missouri Trustee Council, Gov. Nixon said Tuesday that Missouri State Parks is seeking to develop a hiking trail to the summit of Pilot Knob Mountain in Iron County. If approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a public parking lot and trail head will be built at Fort Davidson State Historic Site, along with trail improvements and interpretive features along the trail to the summit.