Natural Resource Damage Assessment
Quantifying damages to natural resources caused by the release of contaminants (intentional releases or accidental spills), is the goal the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Environmental Contaminants program. We use the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process to quantify contaminant-caused damages. Ultimately, the results of an NRDA are used to procure the cost of those damages from the responsible party, and then the procured funds are used to restore injured habitats and resources.
Restoring habitats and resources to the condition they would have been had the hazardous substances not been released, and to compensate the public for the loss of their use or enjoyment of natural resources is the ultimate goal of the NRDA process and the Service's Environmental Contaminants Program.
More information about the NRDA process and Restoration Projects:
Damage Assessments and Restorations in the Midwest:
In 1947 Congress established Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, with a mission to support wildlife, recreation, agriculture, and industry. Prior to modern environmental laws, it was common practice for industrial facilities, including those on the Refuge, to use unlined landfills and dumps to dispose of the waste generated by their operations. As a result, a number of locations on the Refuge became contaminated. As part of the Fish and Wildlife Service's Environmental Quality program, personnel stationed at the Marion CERCLA Field Office work on hazardous materials issues that affect federal trust resources on Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.
Pipe Line Oil Release near Mt. Erie, Illinois
Releases of hazardous substances and petroleum products from the Former Indian Refinery caused damages near Lawrenceville, Illinois.
The Sauget, Illinois Industrial Corridor Sites include a series of facilities, landfills, waste disposal areas, sludge lagoons, and contaminated waterways located around the Villages of Sauget, Cahokia, and East St. Louis, St. Clair County, Illinois. The Sites have been proposed for listing under the National Priorities List for clean up.
The Grand Calumet River, originating in the east end of Gary, Indiana, flows 13 miles through the heavily industrialized cities of Gary, East Chicago, and Hammond. Eight responsible parties have entered into a settlement agreement to restore natural resources harmed by releases of substances such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), oil, benzene, cyanide, and heavy metals into the river.
Mississippi River Pool 15, Iowa
Calmus Creek Injuries (Cerro Gordo County): Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment - November 26, 2007(12-page PDF; 513KB) Wetland injuries were the result of chalky solid materials released into Calmus Creek.
March 2002 Yellow River Fish Kill: Restoration Plan & Environmental Assessment - September 24, 2007(18-page PDF; 750KB) - A fish kill occurred from the un-permitted release of partially treated sewage into Hecker Creek and the Yellow River of Allamakee County, Iowa.
Missouri River Floodplain, Iowa
During July 2010, 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.
Industrial activities on the Kalamazoo River and Portage Creek released polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to those waterways and the surrounding environment. As a result, the U.S. EPA designated areas downstream of the releases of PCBs as the Allied Paper, Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund Site.
Rouge River: 2002 diesel fuel and waste oil spills (goes to the Marine Incidents website)
Beginning in the 1940s, industrial facilities and wastewater treatment plants on the Saginaw River, Michigan, released PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and related compounds into the Saginaw River.
Injuries are a result of releases of hazardous substances at and from the Dow plant property in Midland, Michigan to the Tittabawassee River.
An NRDA was completed for the North Bronson Industrial Area Superfund Site where injuries were a result of the discharge of hazardous substances at or from the Site. Restoration projects are underway on privately owned lands in the affected watershed.
Mining and smelting sites within St. Francois, Reynolds, Jefferson and Iron Counties in Missouri are located within the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District (SEMOLMD), an area that was mined extensively for lead and zinc for more than a century. As a result of this mining and related activities, large amounts of metals including cadmium, lead, zinc, and nickel were released and are continuing to be released into Missouri's environment.
Injuries are a result of the release of hazardous substances at the Fenton Creek Dump Site (also known as the Chrysler Dump).
Eastern Missouri Dioxin Sites Restoration (2011)
The Ashtabula River is located in northeast Ohio, flowing into Lake Erie at Ashtabula Ohio. Tributaries include Fields Brook, Hubbard Run, Strong Brook, and Ashtabula Creek. The bottom sediments, bank soils and biota of Fields Brook have been severely contaminated by unregulated discharges of hazardous substances.
Ohio River Fish, Mussel, and Snail Kill (Restoration Plan; 8-07; 500kb .pdf)
Nature resource injuries were due to the release of hazardous substances from a ferro-alloy manufacturing facility into the Ohio River. Releases of hazardous substances in excess of the limitations set forth in the facility’s wastewater discharge permit allegedly resulted in a series of fish, mussel, and snail kills within a twenty-mile segment of the river.
Decades of manufacturing activity and improper waste disposal practices have resulted in the release of hazardous substances to the Ottawa River and its watershed.
Between 1957 and 1977, pesticides were produced at the Ansul facility, a byproduct of which was cacodylic acid salt composed of 2% arsenic by weight. Nearly 95,000 tons of waste salts were estimated to have been stored on open air platforms known as “salt vaults.” Outdoor storage of these waste piles resulted in leaching, runoff and wind-blown transport of arsenic into the local groundwater, surface water, sediment and soil.
Natural resource injuries were caused by releases of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) by paper companies into the Lower Fox River and Green Bay assessment area.
Industrial activities along the Sheboygan River released polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), heavy metals, and oil residues within the waterway and the surrounding environment. As a result, the U.S. EPA designated the lower 14 miles of the Sheboygan River a Superfund Site.
The Southern Lakes Trap & Skeet Club at the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa was located near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The Site included a trap and skeet shooting range; shooting stations were located such that spent shot was deposited in and around a 36-acre wetland on the Site. The Service investigated the death of Canada geese near the Site, and concluded the geese died from lead poisoning resulting from the consumption of lead shot released at the Site.