Trustees Release Final Springfield Plateau Restoration Plan for Natural Resources Injured by Hazardous Substances Releases in Southwestern Missouri

Last edited 09/25/2020

FWS biologists surveying mussels in the Spring River, Missouri
Malacologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey populations of freshwater mussels in the Spring River, Missouri, in June 2008. Natural resources in portions of the Spring River have been injured by releases of hazardous substances from the Tri-State Mining District. The Springfield Plateau Regional Restoration Plan will guide the restoration of injured natural resources in the Missouri portion of the District. Photo credit: Dave Mosby, FWS.

On June 21, 2012 the State and federal natural resource trustees released the final, publicly-reviewed “Springfield Plateau Regional Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment.” This Regional Restoration Plan presents an ecoregion-wide framework for the restoration of natural resources and natural resource services injured by all releases, discharges, spills or other qualified hazardous substances incidents in the Springfield Plateau and boundary waters.

The Springfield Plateau, in southwestern Missouri, encompasses all or portions of 18 counties and is considered a subsection of the larger Ozark Highlands ecoregion. Characterized as a large, flat plain with minor topographical variation, the Springfield Plateau today is mostly rural but includes the rapidly growing metropolitan areas of Springfield and Joplin.

Through this Regional Restoration Plan, the natural resource trustees have developed a process for expediting more comprehensive and efficient restoration actions by combining multiple natural resource damages settlements. Currently, natural resource restoration funding exists for the following case settlements within the Springfield Plateau area:

  • Eagle-Picher Industries, Inc. settlement in 1995;
  • Carver Scrap Salvage Yard site settlement in 1995;
  • Newton County Wells NPL site settlement in 2004; and,
  • ASARCO bankruptcy settlement in 2009.

The Regional Restoration Plan was developed in partnership between the State of Missouri, represented by Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of the Interior, represented by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This longstanding, cooperative partnership between the State and the Department of the Interior in Missouri is guided by a 2004 Memorandum of Understanding.

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