Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration
2010 Enbridge Oil Spill in Michigan
June 8, 2015: Enbridge Must Restore Environment Injured by 2010 Kalamazoo River Oil Spill
Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment available for review and comment. Public comment period is open from June 12 to July 27, 2015.
A rupture in a 30-inch oil pipeline near Marshall, Michigan, released over 840,000 gallons of crude oil into Talmadge Creek, which flows into the Kalamazoo River. Enbridge Energy reported the spill in July 2010. Heavy rains caused Talmadge Creek to overtop its banks and carry oil 38 miles downstream to the Kalamazoo River, into adjacent floodplains.
Oil from the rupture, along with spill response activities, harmed fish, wildlife and other natural areas in and around Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. These public natural resources are under the jurisdiction of the United States, the State of Michigan, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Tribe, and the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of the Pottawatomi Tribe. Government and tribal agencies are using the Natural Resource and Damage Assessment process to document the amount of harm caused by the spill and will seek restitution from the responsible party (Enbridge Energy) to restore natural resources harmed by the spill.
Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration
Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) is the process used by federal, state and tribal governments to jointly seek compensation for natural resources injured or destroyed when areas are contaminated with oil or other hazardous substances. In the NRDAR process, government and tribal entities are called "trustees." Compensation sought through the process is then used by the trustees to restore fish, wildlife, and their habitat to pre-spill conditions, and to compensate the public for the lost use and enjoyment of those natural resources. Compensation is sought from the party responsible for the damage, in this case, Enbridge Energy.
For the Michigan Enbridge Oil Spill, the trustees include the U.S. Department of Interior (represented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Attorney General, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, and the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Potawatomi.
Within days of the spill, trustees began collecting data to understand the spill’s impact on natural resources and recreational use in and near the creek and river. Since the spill, the Trustees have gathered information on water, fish, mussels, other invertebrates such as insects and crustaceans, vegetation, recovery and rehabilitation of oiled wildlife, recreational closures, as well as data collected by response agencies. Based on information collected and reviewed by trustees during these efforts, and in accordance with state regulations and the Oil Pollution Act and NRDA, the trustees decided to conduct restoration planning to assess damages and restore those resources.
In the course of restoration planning, the trustees collected and reviewed data to identify and quantify different types of impacts from the spill. The trustees evaluated progress in the spill cleanup, work that Enbridge was doing to restore the impacted areas and provide for public use, and future work that they will be required to do by the State of Michigan. The trustees also identified additional restoration projects that benefit the same or similar resources injured by the spill and could be used to compensate the public for losses to natural resources.
The Trustees reached a settlement for natural resource damages (NRD) in conjunction with a settlement between the State of Michigan and Enbridge that addresses cleanup along with provisions for certain restoration projects and compensation. The NRD settlement provides funding to the Trustees to conduct natural resource restoration, reimburses agencies for assessment and restoration costs, and incorporates additional requirements for Enbridge from the settlement between the State of Michigan and Enbridge. The two settlements together will result in restoration, compensation and reimbursement of costs expected to cost Enbridge at least $62 million.
In a Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan (see below), the Trustees propose to implement the following projects with funding from the NRD settlement:
The NRD settlement also incorporates certain requirements from the state’s settlement with Enbridge, including requirements to:
Enbridge has already implemented additional projects that relate to losses of natural resources:
The Trustees are asking for public comment on a Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment (DARP/EA). This document describes the harm caused by the pipeline rupture and the proposed suite of restoration projects designed to address these injuries and losses. The Draft DARP/EA is now available for public review and comment. The 45-day comment period is open from June 12 to July 27, 2015.
Comments on the Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment should be sent via U.S. mail to:
or sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Enbridge NRDA Comment” in the subject line.
Reports and Additional Resources
Trustee reports for the Enbridge Line 6B Natural Resource Damage Assessment
If you have any questions or comments related to the Michigan Enbridge NRDA, contact us via email or telephone: