A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Trustees Settle Natural Resource Damage Claims at 3 Mining Sites in Grant County, New Mexico
Last edited 7/15/2015
The Santa Rita open pit at the Chino Mine site in Grant County, New Mexico, is one of the largest copper mines in the world. This mining site is one of the three mines in southwestern New Mexico subject to the settlement agreement. Photo credit: Russ MacRae, FWS.
On February 21, 2012 the State of New Mexico and the Department of the Interior, acting through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in their role as natural resource trustees, settled natural resource damage claims against Freeport-McMoRan Corp. and four subsidiaries. The settlement, embodied in a Consent Decree entered by the Federal District Court of New Mexico, resolves claims against the companies arising from the release of hazardous substances – such as lead, arsenic and sulfuric acid – at 3 mining sites in New Mexico. These mining sites are the Chino, Cobre and Tyrone mines in Grant County, in the southwestern corner of the State.
The natural resource trustees determined that hazardous substances released from the mining sites caused injuries to groundwater, surface water, sediments, soils, terrestrial habitats, terrestrial receptors and migratory birds,
The settlement calls for Freeport-McMoRan to:
Pay $5,500,000 in natural resource damages;
Pay $59,750.99 for past assessment costs; and,
Convey the deed to 715 acres of land south of City of Rocks, New Mexico, currently owned by Freeport McMoRan Chino Mines Co., to the State of New Mexico.
The transferred land, which is adjacent to City of Rocks State Park in the Mimbres Valley, will be managed for conservation by New Mexico State Parks Division. The land is representative of high Chihuahuan desert grassland habitat.
The State of New Mexico, as the sole trustee for groundwater, separately reached a $13 million settlement with Freeport-McMoRan for injured groundwater at the mining sites on February 11, 2011.
The natural resource trustees will now develop a Draft Restoration Plan which will propose various restoration projects to be funded by the settlement. This Draft Restoration Plan will be made available for public review and comment in the near future.