At a Glance
Ecological restoration, which can repair the landscape after any remediation, will be necessary following PCB cleanup to accelerate the return of a healthy, functional and scenic Housatonic River.
The Housatonic River watershed is one of the most biologically diverse regions of Massachusetts and Connecticut. The watershed is home to a variety of wildlife, including numerous species of special concern.
Downstream of Pittsfield for many miles, the river and floodplain are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which pose risks to both people and animals living nearby. Biohabitats has been contracted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide expert technical support and guidance on ecological restoration alternatives for the ‘Rest of River’, a term used in the Consent Decree to describe the investigation and decision-making process for the Housatonic River from the confluence of the East and West Branches downstream into Connecticut.
Biohabitats was instrumental in developing river restoration strategies to stabilize the channel bed and banks, which then would reduce the mobilization and spread of PCB-contaminated soil. Biohabitats also developed guidance on restoration strategies for the riparian wetland areas and vernal pools of the river floodplain, with special consideration to the Massachusetts Natural Heritage Program information and guidance on vernal pools. Biohabitats assisted in the development of an adaptive management strategy to increase the effectiveness of the remediation and restoration efforts.