Maine Contaminants & NRDAR Program
Northeast Region
Puffins at Petit Manan Island.  Photo by: S. Mierzykowski, USFWS.

Fish and wildlife resources of the United States must endure many hardships to survive and thrive. Among these hardships is the threat posed by exposure to environmental contaminants. Some environmental contaminants (e.g., mercury) may be naturally present in the environment, while others may be introduced through human activities (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs). Not all contaminants may be harmful to animals or occur at levels high enough to have an adverse effect on fish and wildlife. There are ample instances throughout our recent history, however, that clearly demonstrate that fish and wildlife exposure to certain environmental contaminants results in tissue accumulation, biomagnification through food chains, and adverse effects.

Environmental Contaminants and Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (EC/NRDAR) Program Mission

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is to work with others to conserve, protect, and enhance the nations's fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Maine Field Office's EC/NRDAR Program helps accomplish the Service's overall mission by conducting natural resource damage assessments and restorations and by responding to oil and hazardous chemical spills.

Natural Resource Damage Assessments

The Department of the Interior is a Federal Natural Resource Trustee and is authorized to conduct Natural Resource Damage Assessments (NRDAs) under the provisions of the Clean Water Act, the Oil Pollution Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Compensation Liability Act (Superfund).  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as a bureau of the Department of the Interior, may conduct damage assessments when fish and wildlife trust resources are harmed following oil and chemical spills or at hazardous waste sites.  For example, damage assessments were conducted in Maine by state and federal agencies following the 1996 Julie N oil spill in Portland and the 2001 Sanborn Pond oil spill in Brooks. The Maine Field Office is currently working with co-trustees from State of Maine and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration on an assessment of a hazardouse waste site along the Penobscot River and is implementing the Restoration Plan for the Sanborn Pond Oil Spill (34 pp. 694KB).

Oil and Chemical Spills

Within the Service's Northeast Region, there is a cadre of experienced staff that respond to coastal or inland oil and chemical spills and prepare damage assessments following the spills.  On major spills, Service personnel work in two areas: spill response and damage assessment.  Duties in these areas include identification of sensitive areas, recovery of oiled wildlife for cleaning and rehabilitation, shoreline assessments, and sample and evidence collections.

Oiled Piping Plover.  Photo by: S. Mierzykowski, USFWS

Oiled Piping Plover at the Buzzards Bay oil spill. Photo by S. Mierzykowsk, USFWS

Staff from the Maine Field Office have responded to the North Cape (Charlestown,RI), Julie N (Portland, ME), Sanborn Pond (Brooks, ME), B120 (Buzzards Bay, MA), and M/V Athos (Delaware River, PA/NJ) spills.  The Maine Field Office, along with Moosehorn NWR, is also involved with cross-border spill planning in the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy as part of the Canadian/US Atlantic Joint Preparedness Team (CANUSLANT).   The Maine Field Office was the lead USFWS office for planning in the Spill of National Significance (SONS) 2010 exercise. Staff from the Maine Field Office were deployed for months at the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Send comments or questions about the Service's EC/NRDAR program in Maine to

Created 3/2001. Reformatted 4/2010.

Last Updated: March 6, 2014
Maine Field Office
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