Ottawa River Natural Resource Damage Assessment
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Lake Erie, Ohio and Michigan

Decades of manufacturing activity and improper waste disposal practices have resulted in the release of hazardous substances to the Ottawa River and its watershed.  Hazardous substances have migrated from landfills along the banks of the Ottawa River and from industrial facilities in the watershed, contaminating water, fish and wildlife in the Ottawa River and adjacent North Maumee Bay. 

Most of the landfills which were sources of hazardous substances to the Ottawa River have been or are being remediated under CERCLA and other authorities.  However, significant contamination remains in the Ottawa River.  This has resulted in severely degraded fish and benthic invertebrate communities from approximately river mile 8.8 to the mouth of the Ottawa River, and potentially into northern Maumee Bay.  The Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency have issued fish consumption advisories recommending that no one consume any fish caught north of Interstate 475.   

As a result The United States Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, collectively the Trustees, are conducting a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) in the Ottawa River and Northern Maumee Bay (Lake Erie). The NRDA will assess injuries to natural resources that have occurred due to the release of hazardous substances and determine whether compensation is due the public. Compensation will be used to restore, rehabilitate, replace or acquire the equivalent of the injured natural resources and the services they provide.

Natural Resource Damage Assessment Contacts and Reports

The links below will allow you to view the Trustee reports for the Ottawa River Natural Resource Damage Assessment.  Bookmark this page to keep up to date with the latest information released. If you have any questions concerning information found in any of these reports or any other comments related to the Ottawa River NRDA, contact us via email or telephone:

Dave DeVault, Case Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 612-713-5340

Frank Horvath, Chief, Damage Assessment and Response, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 612-713-5336 

Larry Dean, Region 3 External Affairs Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  612-713-5312

Available Reports: (All reports are in PDF format and will require the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these documents. Some files are large so note the file size before downloading.)

Preassessment Screen  (202KB .pdf file)

Assessment Plan (1.3MB .pdf file)

Fish and Turtle Consumption Advisory Report (176KB .pdf; 8-31-09)

Other links:

Region 3 News Releases

Region 3 Contaminants Program Homepage

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Washington Office Contaminants Homepage


Last updated: July 18, 2008