Landfill Expansion Also Protects Natural Habitat

Delavan, Wis. - What began as an 80-acre landfill expansion has resulted in a plan to preserve and restore a biologically diverse ecosystem and to protect endangered species and wetlands.

In 1988, the 593-acre Mallard Ridge Recycling and Disposal facility, Delavan, Wis., faced imminent closure. In conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the landfill's new owner, Waste Management Inc. (WMI), Oak Brook, Ill., and Rust International Inc. began permitting an 80-acre expansion.

The resulting 10-year natural resources management plan focuses on the entire facility and includes efforts to restore areas damaged by soil stockpiling, crop farming and quarry mining.

A preserve also has been established for endangered reptile species such as the Blanding's turtle, queen snake and Eastern Massauga rattlesnake. In addition, the plan reportedly restores 10 acres of wetlands, 166 acres of oak savannas, 136 acres of prairie, 91 acres of native grasses, 47 acres of wet prairie and three acres of ferns and sledge meadow. Recently, a local environmental group released orphaned deer, crows and horned owls on the property.

The project has received the 1994 WMX Chairman's Environmental Excellence award from WMX Technologies Inc., WMI's parent company.