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Peconic River Sportsman’s Club Adopts EPA’s Best Management Practices for Lead Shot; First Private Club in U.S. to Commit to Minimizing Lead in Environment

Release Date: 09/04/2003
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(#03101) New York, N.Y. – Earlier this month, t he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded the Peconic River Sportsman’s Club (PRSC) a Certificate of Recognition for implementing an environmental stewardship plan for its shooting range. PRSC is the first private gun club in the United States to formally adopt EPA-recommended best management practices for lead at outdoor shooting ranges. The Agency developed the practices in conjunction with sports leaders, who played an important role in their development and subsequent adoption by shooting ranges.

“We hope that many other private clubs in the country will follow the Peconic River Sportman’s Club’s example and develop environmental stewardship plans for their ranges,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. “By following EPA best management practices, shooting ranges can effectively manage the lead on their properties – with much less risk to the environment.”

PRSC, located in Manorville, New York, is an approximately 400-acre property, with pistol and rifle ranges, trap and skeet fields and a sporting clays course, as well as a private bird-hunting preserve. PRSC volunteered to reduce the amount of lead from lead shot and bullets that enter the environment using a plan it submitted to EPA for approval earlier this year. Elements of the plan include: avoiding over-water/wetlands shooting, neutralizing areas that showed high acidity in soil with lime, and conducting regular sweeps to recover and recycle lead from the ranges.

Historically, many outdoor shooting ranges have left expended lead bullet and shot uncollected. Many ranges continue to operate this way. An estimated 9,000 non-military outdoor ranges operate in the U.S., depositing more than 160 million pounds of lead into the environment annually. Lead accumulation at these sites may pose a threat to the environment or human health if appropriate best management practices are not implemented.

To address these concerns, EPA Region 2 , in conjunction with shooting sports organizations and the shooting range industry, created the Best Management Practices for Lead at Outdoor Shooting Ranges manual. Since the manual was published in 2001, shooting ranges nationwide have expressed a strong interest in adopting these practices. Also, most states have concurred with the regulatory interpretations included in the manual, and some are producing their own manuals using the EPA guidance. The Agency’s program has also received international recognition. In fact, a European shooting trade association has published a handbook on the same topic based on EPA’s manual, citing it as a “model for other countries.”

EPA’s efforts to promote environmental practices at shooting ranges complement the Agency’s Resource Conservation Challenge, which calls on all Americans to reduce, reuse and recycle goods to decrease the use of new natural resources. EPA’s best management practices for outdoor shooting ranges include the option to reclaim lead and recycle it. This reduces the amount of virgin lead that must be mined. As EPA’s recommended practices grow in popularity across the nation, the Agency expects to see an increase in lead management and reclamation and a reduction in the threat lead from ranges might otherwise pose to the environment.

Other firsts in completing an environmental stewardship plan include the first shooting school – Orvis Sandanona in Millbrook, N.Y.; the first county – Burlington County, N.J.; and the first city – Juneau, Alaska. Best Management Practices for Lead at Outdoor Shooting Ranges may be downloaded at For more information on how to manage lead at outdoor ranges, operators can contact Edward Guster at (212) 637-4133.