Environmental Stewardship on the Elizabeth River

Posted on Thursday, February 29, 2024

river-star-Picture1-(1).jpgWith one of the busiest commercial and industrial ports in the nation, the Elizabeth River watershed in Virginia is no stranger to environmental challenges. In fact, the southern branch of the river at Money Point had become a 35-acre biological dead zone after decades of chemical build-up. Impacted with high concentrations of chemicals, the river floor at Money Point was considered a lost cause. Then in 2006, the Elizabeth River Project (ERP) organization, a local non-profit, decided to turn things around and embark on a multimillion-dollar revitalization project in Money Point - one of the most environmentally impacted areas on the Chesapeake Bay.

The entire waterfront at Money Point is owned by industrial or commercial businesses. With corporate engagement in mind, the ERP launched its River Stars program in 1999, which seeks to voluntarily engage businesses in restoration and conservation activities. Kinder Morgan operates several facilities in the area and has been working with the ERP since 2003 when Kinder Morgan’s Elizabeth River Terminal was officially recognized as a River Star Business.

“We are so grateful for the participation of our industrial partners since they are key to achieving the Money Point vision of a thriving ecological regeneration,” said Elizabeth River Project’s deputy director of restoration Joe Rieger. “Without the help of our River Star businesses, improving the health of the Elizabeth River would be impossible.”

In 2009, as part of ERP’s Money Point Revitalization project, Kinder Morgan helped restore seven acres of tidal marsh along its Elizabeth River Terminal industrial shoreline, now called the Kinder Morgan Conservation Area. This project added a three-acre oyster reef, natural shoreline and a marsh that replaced an invasive plant with native saltmarsh cordgrass. Just one year after the project’s completion, wetland plants were thriving and cancer rates in fish had decreased from 40% to 6%.

This year, the Kinder Morgan Conservation Area also achieved the Wildlife Habitat Council’s Conservation Certified Silver level for creating four conservation projects. These initiatives were led by Lori Young, a senior environmental, health and safety technician at Kinder Morgan.

river-star-Picture2.jpgThe Kinder Morgan Elizabeth River Terminal was recognized again by the ERP in January 2024 for exceptional environmental impact reduction and wildlife habitat results, achieving their Model Level for sustained distinguished performance.

“Our efforts on the Elizabeth River are part of our commitment to reduce Kinder Morgan’s environmental impact in the communities we operate in,” said Kinder Morgan’s environmental, health and safety director Richard Steinberg. “We are proud to be recognized by the ERP again this year and hope to continue discovering new ways to contribute to the positive impacts our friends at the ERP and other local participating business can make to the watershed.”
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