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Input Sought on Natural Resources Plan

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, along with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acting as natural resource trustees, have released the draft restoration plan and environmental assessment that identifies proposed projects to restore natural resources damaged from releases at the Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp. Superfund site in Navassa.

The Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp. site fronts Sturgeon Creek in Navassa. Photo: Mark Hibbs

The soil, sediment and groundwater at the site are contaminated by creosote-related chemicals. In 2006, Kerr-McGee transferred the site to Tronox Inc., which declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. In 2014, court-appointed trustees recovered $23 million for natural resource restoration.

The trustees determined that the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon levels present in the site sediments could cause harm to the organisms living in, on or near those sediments and negatively affect the ecological services the habitat provides.

The draft restoration plan identifies 10 projects estimated at $11.35 million in the Lower Cape Fear River watershed near Navassa. The following proposed projects address damage to natural resources through restoration or preservation of a similar habitat and provide ecological benefits near Navassa.

  • Alligator Creek Restoration and Conservation
  • Battleship North Carolina — Living Water Restoration
  • Carolina Beach State Park Restoration
  • Indian Creek Natural Resource Restoration and Conservation
  • Lower Black River Conservation
  • Lower Cape Fear Bottomlands Conservation
  • Merrick Creek Conservation
  • Moze Heritage Site Tidal Restoration
  • Navassa Stormwater and Riparian Restoration
  • Navassa Waterfront Park

Restoration is to be done in phases until all remaining restoration funds are exhausted.

Public comments on the initial draft restoration plan are being accepted through Dec. 2. An information session is set for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Navassa Community Center, 338 Main St.

Public comments and requests for a hard copy of the plan can be sent to Howard Schnabolk, NOAA coastal marine specialist, via email at howard.schnabolk@noaa.gov with the subject line “Kerr McGee Draft Restoration Plan Comment,” or mailed to Howard Schnabolk, ℅ NOAA Restoration Center, 2234 South Hobson Ave., Charleston, S.C. 29405.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.