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Portland Harbor
Natural Resource Damage Assessment
 

Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustees

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Restoration Begins in Portland Harbor Superfund Site

Photo - Willamette River (NOAA)

Site Overview
The Portland Harbor area along the Lower Willamette River was named a Superfund site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2000. The Superfund study area extends from river mile 2 (between the Multnomah Channel and Columbia River) to river mile 11.8 (near the Broadway Bridge). In 2002, a Natural Resources Trustee Council was formed to develop and coordinate damage assessment activities at Portland Harbor and to plan for the restoration of natural resources. More information >>

 
Photo - Salmon (NOAA).

Damage Assessment
The Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process is separate from the EPA clean-up activities. Under NRDA, the Trustee Council will evaluate how the natural resources were harmed over the time that the area has been contaminated and will develop a restoration plan to compensate for those losses. More information >>

 
Photo - Pacific Lamprey in spawning ground (USFWS)


Restoration Planning

The Trustee Council is developing a restoration plan to restore injured natural resources and address the public’s lost use of those resources. Restoration actions will improve habitat conditions along the lower Willamette River, its shorelines, floodplain, and river-associated habitats, focusing on the most important habitat needs of injured fish and wildlife. More information >>

 
Photo - Portland Harbor.

Potentially Responsible Party Information
The Trustee Council is conducting a cooperative NRDA process with a group of Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) in the Superfund site area. This section of the website hosts important information for PRPs including Phase 1 and Phase 2 documentation and agreements. More information >>

 
 

SITE OVERVIEW

Background

Since the early 1900s, industries along the lower Willamette River have released dozens of contaminants into the river and onto the land around it. Substances released include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals, pesticides (e.g., DDT), dioxins, and furans. Many of these contaminants can harm the environment for many decades. Even small amounts of these contaminants can be hazardous to fish and wildlife. Larger animals like osprey and river otter that have eaten contaminated smaller animals (e.g., fish) can build up high levels of contamination through their food.

In 2000, Portland Harbor was declared a federal Superfund site. The Superfund study area extends from river mile 2 (between the Multnomah Channel and Columbia River) to river mile 11.8 (near the Broadway Bridge). The EPA is expected to issue a decision about cleanup of contaminated river sediments in 2012 while the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is working to reduce the amount of contamination entering the water from the land.

In 2002, the Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustee Council (Trustee Council) was formed to develop and coordinate damage assessment activities at Portland Harbor and to plan for the restoration of natural resources through the NRDA process. The NRDA process is separate from the EPA clean-up activities. Under NRDA, the Trustee Council will evaluate how the natural resources were harmed over the time that the area has been contaminated and will develop a restoration program to compensate for those losses.

Portland Harbor Trustee Council

When natural resources are injured by releases of hazardous substances or oil, laws such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Oil Pollution Act empower natural resource Trustees to obtain compensation for harm to trust resources and to plan and carry out actions to restore injured resources through a process called natural resource damage assessment (NRDA).

The Trustee Council currently consists of representatives of eight Trustees:

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DAMAGE ASSESSMENT

The NRDA process is separate from the EPA clean-up activities. A major goal of NRDA is to make the public “whole” for injury to, or loss of, natural resources and the services provided by those resources. Through the NRDA process, the Trustee Council will do the following:

  • Assess natural resource injuries caused by contaminants.
  • Quantify those injuries.
  • Seek compensation from the parties responsible for the contaminants.
  • Use compensation funds to restore, rehabilitate, and/or replace those injured natural resources, or direct the responsible parties to do so.

The Trustee Council has developed a phased approach for the NRDA process. The goal is to reach settlements with Potentially Responsible Parties at or around the time of EPA’s decision on the Superfund clean-up/process.

Graphic of the Portland Harbor Site Activities

Damage Assessment Documents

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RESTORATION PLANNING

Useful Links

Broader Focus Area for Ecological Restoration

Broader Focus Area for Restoration Map

The Trustee Council is developing a restoration plan to restore injured natural resources and address the public’s lost use of those resources. Restoration actions will improve habitat conditions along the lower Willamette River, its shorelines, floodplain, and river-associated habitats, focusing on the most important habitat needs of injured fish and wildlife.

The Trustee Council has identified a preliminary list of potential restoration opportunities in the Portland Harbor area and is drafting a Restoration Plan that will outline restoration options, describe a way to scale restoration to the assessed natural resource injuries, and guide how specific restoration projects are chosen. The Trustee Council will seek public input on the plan in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.

Restoration and National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA) Documents

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POTENTIALLY RESPONSIBLE PARTY INFORMATION

The Trustee Council is conducting a cooperative NRDA process with the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) in the Superfund site area. This section of the website hosts important information for PRPs including Phase 1 and Phase 2 documentation and agreements.

Documents for PRPs

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ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD

The Trustee Council has opened an Administrative Record which includes documents relied upon during the development of the Draft PEIS and Restoration Plan and the Portland Harbor NRDA case. The documents will be available via FTP soon.

 

CALENDAR

 

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General Questions and Comments

If you have questions or specific requests regarding these documents or wish to view them in hard copy, please contact Jennifer Hughes via email
or by phone at
503-416-6185.