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The State

A project to protect migratory birds by covering selenium-tainted soil at the former Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge with fill dirt has been completed, and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials are unsure if any further cleanup will be needed at the Merced County site. Officials said dirt has been spread up to three feet thick over the one-time refuge, where waterfowl were poisoned by selenium leaked from farm soils in western Fresno County and transported to Kesterson through the San Luis Drain. The drain was shut down two years ago. “It may be that by filling in and eliminating the wet areas we will have eliminated the problem,” said Susan Hoffman, the bureau’s program manager for Kesterson.


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