Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge NRDAR Prairie Restoration

Background information. In the late 1800s through the early 1900s, nearly all of the area that is now the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (Crab Orchard NWR) was either logged for timber or cleared and converted to other uses, particularly agriculture. By the 1930s, soils in the area were depleted and severely eroded. Additional clearing and development ensued with the establishment of the Illinois Ordnance Plant during World War II. In 2014, as part of the effort to restore Crab Orchard NWR lands to benefit wildlife, the refuge undertook the Hampton native prairie restoration project to convert a 62-acre nonnative cool-season hay field into a native warm-season grassland. The primary benefit of this restoration is higher quality ... Show More

Background information. In the late 1800s through the early 1900s, nearly all of the area that is now the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (Crab Orchard NWR) was either logged for timber or cleared and converted to other uses, particularly agriculture. By the 1930s, soils in the area were depleted and severely eroded. Additional clearing and development ensued with the establishment of the Illinois Ordnance Plant during World War II.

In 2014, as part of the effort to restore Crab Orchard NWR lands to benefit wildlife, the refuge undertook the Hampton native prairie restoration project to convert a 62-acre nonnative cool-season hay field into a native warm-season grassland. The primary benefit of this restoration is higher quality habitat for grassland-dependent wildlife species, such as migratory birds—particularly those identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as nongame species of management concern: the loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) and grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum). By increasing pollinator habitat, this restoration will also promote conservation of pollinator species, such as the monarch butterfly ( Danaus plexippus). A secondary benefit of the restoration is increased forage availability for cattle. Ongoing maintenance will control weedy species and promote diversity of native grasses and forbs by rotational cattle grazing, prescribed fire, and mowing.

Background information on the Crab Orchard prairie restoration was obtained from Casey Bryan, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, written commun., 2015; and from Crab Orchard Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration case documents at http://www.cerc.usgs.gov/orda_docs/CaseDetails?ID=1004.

Economic impacts. The Hampton prairie restoration was funded by the Crab Orchard NWR Natural Resource Damage Assessment. Settlement funds paid for native seed, site preparation and materials, and some labor. Additional labor costs for prescribed fire activities were provided by the Crab Orchard NWR. The initial phase of the Hampton prairie restoration took place in 2014 and cost $42,000 (2014 dollars). Approximately 41 percent of project expenditures was made within the local economy, which supported 0.5 job-years; $17,000 in labor income; $18,000 in value added; and $28,000 in local economic output. Expanding to include the effects of both local and nonlocal expenditures, the Hampton prairie restoration project supported an estimated total of 0.9 job-years; $46,000 in labor income; $75,000 in value added; and $143,000 in economic output in the national economy. Show Less

Contact(s): Catherine M Cullinane Thomas, Christopher C Huber.

Overview

Project Period: 2014-2014

Location: Illinois

Restoration Type: Prairie restoration

Lead Agency: Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

Economic Impacts
National Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Total Project Expenditures: $42,000


Job-Years: 0.9 (21.4 per $1M)

Labor Income: $46,000 ($1.1M per $1M)

Value Added: $75,000 ($1.8M per $1M)

Economic Output: $143,000 ($3.4M per $1M)

Local Economic Impacts (2014 dollars):

Local Project Expenditures: $17,000

Percent of Project Expenditures Spent Locally: 41%

Local Job-Years: 0.5

Local Labor Income: $17,000

Local Value Added: $18,000

Local Economic Output: $28,000

Big Picture
Main Project: Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge NRDAR Restoration

The Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (Crab Orchard NWR) located in southern Illinois is a refuge for humans and wildlife alike, and has a unique history of industry, employment, and restoration. In 1936, the Resettlement Administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture purchased land along Crab Orchard Creek to establish the Crab Orchard Lake reservoir as part of a Great Depression era reemployment program. During World War II, the War Department established the Illinois Ordnance Plant on the site to manufacture ammunition and bombs. In 1947, following the war, the land was transferred into the National Wildlife Refuge System. The enabling legislation for the Crab Orchard NWR required the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) ... Show More

The Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge (Crab Orchard NWR) located in southern Illinois is a refuge for humans and wildlife alike, and has a unique history of industry, employment, and restoration. In 1936, the Resettlement Administration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture purchased land along Crab Orchard Creek to establish the Crab Orchard Lake reservoir as part of a Great Depression era reemployment program. During World War II, the War Department established the Illinois Ordnance Plant on the site to manufacture ammunition and bombs. In 1947, following the war, the land was transferred into the National Wildlife Refuge System. The enabling legislation for the Crab Orchard NWR required the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to reuse some of the Army facilities for industry and use other areas of the refuge for agriculture, recreation, and wildlife conservation. Today, the Crab Orchard NWR has among the highest outdoor recreation and wildlife dependent human uses in the National Wildlife Refuge System, as well as an active agricultural program that includes row crop production, hay production, and cattle grazing.

The industrial uses of the site by the Army and subsequent tenants released hazardous contaminants into the environment. In 1987, because of extensive environmental contamination, the industrial complex was designated as a Superfund site and placed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) National Priorities List. The FWS was designated as the lead agency for remediation, and the agency coordinated remediation efforts with the EPA, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The USACE was designated as the lead agency for areas identified as Formerly Used Defense Sites, that is, the areas that were used during World War II. Remediation and restoration efforts have been underway for more than two decades, and several sites have been investigated and cleaned up by potentially responsible parties. To date, approximately $150 million has been spent on remediation and restoration activities, including the excavation and (or) treatment of more than 300,000 cubic yards of soil and sediment containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), heavy metals, explosives, pesticides, and solvents; and the treatment of groundwater contaminated with solvents. It is anticipated that groundwater treatment will need to continue for decades to achieve the required groundwater standards (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2014). As a result of cleanup efforts, more than 140 acres have been reforested and PCB concentrations in fish in Crab Orchard Lake have declined significantly. These remediation and restoration efforts have improved fish and wildlife habitats, water quality in Crab Orchard Lake, and recreational opportunities such as fishing, boating, bird watching, camping, and swimming.

This report highlights two restoration projects on the Crab Orchard NWR: the remediation and restoration of an industrial wastewater treatment facility, and the restoration of 62 acres of the refuge to native prairie. The U.S. Geological Survey collected data on restoration activities and expenditures to estimate the economic activity supported by these restoration projects.

Background information on the Crab Orchard Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) settlement was obtained from Leanne Moore, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Remediation and Restoration Program, written commun., 2015; and from Crab Orchard NRDAR case documents at http://www.cerc.usgs.gov/orda_docs/CaseDetails?ID=1004

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Realted Case Studies:
Map
Images
A Pearl Crescent Butterfly Enjoying the Restored Prairie.jpg
Milkweed Provides Habitat and Food for Monarch Butterflies.jpg
Refuge Staff Applying a Prescribed Burn Treatment.jpg
Refuge Staff Drill Seeding Native Grasses and Forbes.jpg
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