Friday, January 26, 2018

EPA task force to hold public meeting on saving Buffalo Reef Jan. 30 in Lake Linden

This map shows the area of the potential 2018 stamp sands project for additional stamp sand removal and containment near Gay on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior. The project's main purpose is to save the trout and whitefish spawning areas on Buffalo Reef (center of map). Click on map for larger version. (Map courtesy Michigan DNR)

[Note: This Department of Natural Resources (DNR) news release is being issued in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.]

A cooperative multi-entity task force created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reminding the public about a public meeting set for Tuesday, Jan. 30, in Lake Linden, on efforts to save the important lake trout and whitefish spawning areas on Buffalo Reef.

The underwater reef is threatened by shifting stamp sands, a by-product of copper milling done in the community of Gay, beginning in the early 1900s and lasting roughly 30 years.

The public meeting will be held from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, at the Lake Linden-Hubbell High School Auditorium, 601 Calumet Street in Lake Linden. A session previously scheduled for Dec. 5 was postponed due to inclement weather.

In addition to the Jan. 30 public meeting, an invitation-only Wednesday, Jan. 31, meeting on Buffalo Reef for EPA task force members and scientists has also been set. That session was previously scheduled for Dec. 6, but was canceled because of blizzard conditions.

The EPA formed the task force to develop a long-term plan over the next couple of years to contain and potentially reuse the stamp sands. The group will gather input from many stakeholders, including the public.

"We will be soliciting public input on what issues the plan needs to address and looking for volunteers to help us understand and resolve those issues," said Steve Casey, a task force member representing the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Editor's Note: For background on this issue see our Nov. 21, 2017, article, "DNR stamp sand dredging buys time; EPA provides $3.1 million for Army Corps dredging to protect Buffalo Reef fish spawning habitat."

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