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Trustees Settle Natural Resource Damage Claims Arising from Hazardous Substances Releases at Greens Bayou Site, Harris County, Texas


04/03/2013


coastal habitat at Baytown Nature Center, near Baytown, TexasAlmost 11 acres of intertidal wetlands at Baytown Nature Center, near Baytown, Texas, shown here in January 2009, will be restored to compensate for injuries to natural resource and natural resource services caused by hazardous substances releases at the Greens Bayou Site in Houston. Photo credit: Tammy Ash, FWS.

 

On April 3, 2013, the federal and State natural resource trustees settled natural resource damage claims with three parties arising from hazardous substances releases at the Greens Bayou Site in Harris County in southeastern Texas. Settling parties include: GB Biosciences Corp., ISK Magnetics, Inc. and Occidental Chemical Corp. The settlement is embodied in a Consent Decree that was entered by the U.S. District Court for the Southern Division of Texas, Houston Division.

The natural resource trustees involved in this case include:

  • State of Texas, represented by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department;
  • U.S. Department of Commerce, represented by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and,
  • U.S. Department of the Interior, represented by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Greens Bayou Site is a 217-acre industrial area bisected by Hayden Road in the City of Houston. Surface water drainage from the site flows to the Harris County Flood Control District ditch, a partially-lined culvert as it passes through the site, which then drains to Greens Bayou. Historical operations at the site released hazardous substances, including DDT compounds. The trustees, in cooperation with the settling parties, determined that these hazardous substances releases injured benthic sediment habitat and organisms, aquatic habitats and organisms, terrestrial wildlife and habitat for State- and federally-protected species, including migratory birds.

Under the proposed settlement in the lodged Consent Decree, the settling parties, jointly and severally, will:

  • Implement intertidal wetlands restoration on at least 10.89 acres within the Baytown Nature Center in Baytown, Harris County, Texas;
  • Preserve 100.17 acres of riparian and bottomland hardwood habitat adjacent to Spring Creek in Montgomery County, Texas, through the execution of a Conservation Easement;
  • Reimburse the trustees’ past assessment costs, including $3,597.73 to DOI, $27,461.51 to NOAA and $13,012.95 to State of Texas; and,
  • Reimburse the trustees’ future administrative costs.

A final, publicly-reviewed “Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan” detailing the specific actions to be implemented to restore the injured natural resources and natural resource services, is incorporated in the Consent Decree as Appendix A.

Further reading:
Consent Decree (entered April 3, 2013)
Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan (dated December 14, 2008)