Principles and Trustee expectations for protection of Hanford natural resources
As the H
NRTC looks at plans for closure and some of the proposed long-term uses of the site, we have significant concerns. Broadly stated, trustees want good cleanup of Hanford:
- We believe that natural resources restoration must be to levels that will end existing injury to natural resources and the services they provide, and avoid future injury.
- We urge DOE to avoid decisions or actions that might constrain future site restoration or be incompatible with restoration principles, and to consult with trustees if such decisions are under consideration.
- We urge DOE to avoid further disturbance and/or loss of natural resources, habitats, or services. We also discourage any disturbance that results in fragmentation of habitats on and/or adjacent to the Hanford site.
Although DOE has authority for land management decisions for those parts of the site not currently placed in the Hanford Reach National Monument, a June 2000 presidential memo directed DOE to permanently manage central Hanford to protect valued habitats and areas of scientific and historic interest similar to those of the Hanford Reach National Monument. The HNRTC stands ready to support DOE in fulfilling that mission. Hanford trustees drafted a Hanford Facility Restoration Plan as part of the NRDA process. The draft plan articulates a number of procedural and ecological goals and values for restoration. The HNRTC believes that restoration must:
- Fully make the public whole for natural resources injured as the result of releases of contaminants or as part of the response actions;
- Protect, restore, and/or re-establish native species and the habitats needed to support them;
- Repair habitat fragmentation; protect or restore habitat corridors and connectivity between habitats on and off-site;
- Protect, restore, and manage sustainable habitats and landscapes to support multiple ecological niches, ecosystem services, and native species;
- Include early restoration where feasible and appropriate to reduce interim service losses to resources and to accelerate site recovery;
- Comply with federal, state, and tribal treaties, laws, and policies;
- Fulfill the needs and interests of trust governments and their constituents in terms of restoration of ecosystem services such as unrestricted use of the land, preservation, education, recreation, traditional cultural uses, and health and well-being expectations (e.g., solitude, clean air and water);
- Provide opportunities for the public to participate in the restoration planning process;
- Provide for sufficient monitoring and maintenance to ensure and to document successful long-term restoration of resources.