Ecological Services
Northeast Region
The NRDAR Process News and Highlights

NRDAR in Action

To fulfill the mission of restoring natural resources that have been injured by oil spills or hazardous substance releases, several steps must be taken. The process works like this:

  1. Oil is spilled or a hazardous material is released into the environment.
  2. While other agencies like the Coast Guard or EPA address cleanup, the natural resource trustees determine the magnitude of the injuries to natural resources. This damage assessment can begin during the cleanup, but the full extent of injuries usually cannot be determined until after the cleanup is complete. In some cases, the trustees work cooperatively with the responsible parties to conduct this assessment.
  3. Once the assessment is complete, the trustees and the responsible parties usually attempt to reach a negotiated settlement for the cost of the restoration, for the loss of the use of the land or resources to the general public, and for the money the trustees spent to assess the damages. If a negotiated settlement cannot be reached, the trustees can take the responsible parties to court. Most cases are settled out of court.
  4. Trustees develop a restoration plan that specifies the actions necessary to restore the injured resources. The public is invited to submit restoration activities.
  5. Restoration takes place. Restoration actions can be carried out where the contamination occurred or at an alternate location which, when restored, provides a suitable replacement for the injured or lost resources. Sometimes the responsible party donates land to be restored and protected. Restoration can also be in the form of restoring populations of injured resources such as birds or freshwater mussels.
  6. Finally, the trustees monitor the restoration projects to assure that they continue to be properly operated and to ensure the long-term success of the restoration.

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Service officials begin pre-assessment at W.Va.'s Elk River spill Elk River, WV
Restoration moving forward as part of $21 million Palmerton natural resource damages settlement Alpine property
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Last updated: June 18, 2014