On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, Governor Steve Bullock and Attorney General Tim Fox announced the approval of the Yellowstone River Recreation Project Priority Plan. The draft priority plan identifies preferred recreation projects and funding amounts to meet the restoration plan goal of providing additional recreational human use opportunities to offset those lost due to the July 1, 2011, Exxonmobil Pipeline Company Yellowstone River Oil Spill.
The recreation project priority plan was developed as part of the implementation of the Final Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment for the Exxonmobil Pipeline Company July 1, 2011, Yellowstone River Oil Spill (restoration plan). The restoration plan was prepared by the U.S. Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the State of Montana through the Department of Justice Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP).
To assist with the preparation of this priority plan, the State formed a locally-based ad-hoc Recreation Project Advisory Committee. The Recreation Project Advisory Committee solicited projects and input from the community in the development of the draft plan. The final Yellowstone River recreation project priority plan is found in the Recreation Project Advisory Committee document section below.
If you need additional information, please contact Alicia Stickney at the NRDP at [email protected] or 406-444-1346.
The final Recreation Project Priority Plan is available here: Final Yellowstone River Recreation Project Priority Plan
The Draft Final Recreation Project Priority Plan is available here: Draft Final Recreation Project Priority Plan
Draft meeting minutes from the applicant presentations to the Recreation Advisory Committee on October 11 and 12, 2017 are posted here: 10-11-17 Recreation Advisory Committee Presentations Meeting Notes.
The second meeting of the Yellowstone River Recreation Project Advisory Committee took place on Monday, June 12th. Meeting minutes are posted here: 6-12-17 Recreation Advisory Committee Meeting Notes.
Minutes from the first meeting, held on May 15th are posted here: 5-15-17 Recreation Advisory Committee Meeting Notes.
Members of the Committee:
Kenneth E. Olson, Jr.
Yellowstone County appointed:
In January 2017, the State of Montana and U.S. Department of the Interior issued the Final Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Final Programmatic Environmental Assessment for the Exxonmobil Pipeline Company July 1, 2011 Yellowstone River Oil Spill. The restoration plan was prepared by the State of Montana through the Department of Justice Natural Resource Damage Program and the U.S. Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The restoration plan describes the natural resource injuries caused by the oil spill and restoration project types to compensate for those injuries.
The State of Montana and the United States entered into a $12 million natural resource damage settlement with Exxonmobil, which was approved by the Court in December. The State of Montana will be implementing almost $9.5 million in restoration projects on the Yellowstone River in the next few years. “The restoration plan includes a range of project types that address specific injuries associated with the oil spill, and in total will make the environment and public whole,” said Alicia Stickney, Natural Resource Damage Program Project Manager. “The plan will guide restoration of the Yellowstone River to improve natural and recreational resources of the river injured due to the spill.”
To assist with the development of recreation projects, the State has formed a locally-based ad-hoc Recreation Project Advisory Committee to prepare a draft Recreation Project Plan for how approximately $2.3 million will be spent on recreation projects on the Yellowstone River impacted by the spill. The draft Recreation Project Plan will be submitted to the Governor for approval. The Recreation Project Advisory Committee will solicit projects and input from the community.
HISTORY OF THE SPILL
On July 1, 2011, a 12-inch diameter pipeline (Silvertip Pipeline) owned by ExxonMobil Pipeline Company ruptured near Laurel, Montana, resulting in the discharge of crude oil into the Yellowstone River and floodplain. The discharge is estimated to have been approximately 63,000 gallons (about 1,500 barrels) of oil. The discharge occurred during a high-flow event, affecting approximately 85 river miles and associated floodplain. Oil from the spill, along with the cleanup activities, harmed natural resources including fish and other aquatic organisms, birds (including migratory birds), wildlife, large woody debris piles, aquatic habitat, terrestrial habitat, recreational use, and the services provided by these natural resources. These public natural resources are under the Trusteeship of the State of Montana and the U.S. Department of the Interior under the Oil Pollution Act and other laws.
THE OIL POLLUTION ACT AND NATURAL RESOURCE DAMAGE ASSESSMENT AND RESTORATION
The primary goal of the Oil Pollution Act is to make the environment and public whole for injuries to natural resources and services resulting from a discharge of oil or other hazardous substances to the environment. In the restoration plan, the Trustees have presented their evaluation of injuries to the natural resources, restoration alternatives, and projects that benefit the same or similar resources injured by the oil spill.
INJURED RESOURCES AND RESTORATION ALTERNATIVES
Oil from the spill, along with spill response and cleanup activities, harmed fish, wildlife and their habitats and other natural resources in and around the Yellowstone River. The spill also impacted the recreational use of the river and public sites along the river. Injuries included:
The Trustees evaluated a range of restoration alternatives that would provide resource services to compensate the public for losses pending natural recovery of resources injured by the oil spill. The Trustees have identified preferred restoration alternatives designed to address the resource injuries. The Trustees plan to work with project partners such as local, state, and federal agencies and nonprofit organizations and landowners to implement the projects.
Project types include:
LINKS AND DOCUMENTS