Little St. Francis River bank restoration
Restoration in Progress - Newly planted native trees on the remediated chat pile area in the Little St. Francis River floodplain.

In 2010, the department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, acting as trustees for natural resources, recovered approximately $1.6 million for restoration of injured natural resources in Madison County from American Smelting and Refining Co. (ASARCO). ASARCO is a mining company that operated the Catherine Mine and associated workings, as well as a mill facility located on the banks of the Little St. Francis River in Fredericktown. The mill was located immediately south of the current City Lake reservoir and deposited wastes in the form of metals contaminated chat on the west bank of the Little St. Francis River. To partially address the injury from ASARCO operations, the trustees invested a portion of the recovered funds to restore the former chat pile area and its surrounding environment. 

The trustees continue to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on their response activities along the Little St. Francis River. Department staff are involved in all aspects of this project from helping write management plans and designing monitoring regimes, to planting trees and removal of invasive plant species. 


Starting in 2017 the trustees began restoration efforts on the city-owned property, which included a floristic quality assessment; invasive and undesirable plant species treatment and removal including eastern red cedar, Johnson grass, autumn olive, bush honeysuckle; and planting 550 native trees on the remediated chat pile area. Tree survey and monitoring of the 550 planted trees are ongoing during spring and fall.

As of the winter of 2019, trustees continue to negotiate and establish a conservation easement on the outlined area to protect the area from development, subdivision or logging. The terms of the agreement and final area will be subject to agreement by the City and the Ozark Land Trust. Future plans for the site include monitoring and adapting restoration to ensure long-term success and minimal future maintenance; and endowing the City with a fund for future maintenance of the area.

For information about any upcoming events, public notices and opportunities for public comment relating to this project, visit What's New in NRDAR.


This project is made possible through the joint efforts of the following groups: