Fisherman enjoy a day on the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge.

Restoration work related to a 2006 diesel spill in the Bill Williams River could begin later this year.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to restore at least 27 acres of mesquite bosque habitat on the Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge, where in 2006 a tanker truck overturned on the Bill Williams Bridge and spilled about 7,800 gallons of diesel into the river.

The accident resulted in a fire that devastated an estimated 348 acres of refuge lands. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the spill and the fire injured endangered species and migratory birds, as well as a number of sensitive habitats on the refuge. The affected habitsts support two endangered birds, the southwestern willow flycatcher and the Yuma clapper rail, and two endangered fish, the razorback sucker and bonytail chub. The area is also home to the threatened yellow-billed cuckoo and 300 species of migratory or nesting bird species.

A $1.2 million settlement with the trucking company, Texmo, will pay for the restoration plan, according to a news release. The plan calls for the removal of invasive plants such as salt cedars and the planting of native plant species such as mesquite, cottonwood and desert willow trees.

The restoration plan is available for public review and comment through Aug. 20. It can be viewed online at www.cerc.gov/orda_docs/CaseDetails?ID=981, or a hard copy can be reviewed by calling 602-889-5963.


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