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Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration

2010 Enbridge Oil Spill in Michigan


Three people cleaning an oiled bird.

Workers are cleaning a bird oiled during the July 2010 spill in Michigan.

Photo by Michigan DNR


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.


Damage Assessment

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.


Collection and review of data will continue as trustees work to identify and quantify the spill’s impacts.  The trustees will also begin restoration planning, identifying projects that benefit the same or similar resources injured by the spill.  The public will have an opportunity for review and comment upon the draft assessment and restoration plan.


News Release (March 1, 2012): Trustees to Begin Restoration Planning for 2010 Oil Spill Near Marshall, Michigan


Public Notice of Intent to Conduct Restoration Planning - - Discharge of Oil from the July 26, 2010 Enbridge Pipeline Release (11-page PDF)


Letter from Trustees to Enbridge (2-page PDF)


Response to the Enbridge Oil Spill in Michigan


Reports and Additional Resources

Trustee reports for the Enbridge Line 6B Natural Resource Damage Assessment


Health Assessment and Histopathologic Analyses of Fish Collected from the Kalamazoo River, Michigan, Following Discharges of Diluted Bitumen Crude Oil from the Enbridge Line 6B July 3, 2014 (70-page PDF; 4.4MB)


Interim, Partial Claim for Assessment Costs Enbridge Line 6B Pipeline Discharge January 29, 2013 (28-page pdf Adobe PDF Icon)


2012 Vegetation Assessment Survey Work Plan July 23, 2012 (66-page PDF; 1.7MB Adobe PDF Icon


Criteria for Selection of Restoration Projects June 18, 2012 (2-page PDF Adobe PDF Icon)


Recreational Use Assessment Plan (6-page PDFAdobe PDF Icon)


Assessment Framework (5-page PDF Adobe PDF Icon)


Administrative Record



If you have any questions or comments related to the Michigan Enbridge NRDA, contact us via email or telephone:


Lisa Williams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, East Lansing Field Office, 517-351-8324

Annette Trowbridge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3 NRDA Coordinator, 612-713-5104




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Last updated: May 11, 2015