Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration
Enbridge 2010 Kalamazoo River Oil Spill
Feature Story: A River Righted
On July 25, 2010, Enbridge's Lakehead pipeline ruptured near the city of Marshall in southern Michigan and released toxic crude oil into a nearby wetland. More than 840,000 gallons of oil flowed down Talmadge Creek through 38 miles of the Kalamazoo River. This section of the Kalamazoo had to be closed to the public for the remainder of 2010 and all of 2011. Parts of the Kalamazoo River were eventually re-opened for recreational use in select areas in 2012, but were closed again in other areas for additional dredging to remove oiled sediments in 2013 and 2014. The people and communities close to the river, such as Battle Creek and Marshall, lost significant recreational opportunities due to the oil spill.
Story Map: River of Recent Return
Videos and images tell the story of the July 25, 2010, Enbridge Oil Spill: emergency response to the spill, removing the oil, and on-going restoration of natural resources and public services.
Restoration and recovery of the Kalamazoo River following the 2010 Enbridge Line 6B oil spill.
Kalamazoo River Large Woody Debris Project
From aquatic insects to turtles, forage fish to smallmouth bass, and large wading birds, they all depend in some way on wood that finds its way to the water. Insects feed on it, fish find shelter around it, turtles bask and birds perch on top of it.
Fish Passage Project on Pigeon Creek
A natural substrate bottomless culvert replaced inadequate, under-sized culverts on Pigeon Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. The new culvert, along with other streambed structures, allows for fish passage under the road and improved fish habitat.
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 (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.
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.
In the course of restoration planning, the trustees collected and reviewed data to identify and quantify different types of impacts from the spill. The trustees evaluated progress in the spill cleanup, work that Enbridge was doing to restore the impacted areas and provide for public use, and future work that they will be required to do by the State of Michigan. The trustees also identified additional restoration projects that benefit the same or similar resources injured by the spill and could be used to compensate the public for losses to natural resources.
The Trustees reached a settlement for natural resource damages (NRD) in conjunction with a settlement between the State of Michigan and Enbridge that addresses cleanup along with provisions for certain restoration projects and compensation. The NRD settlement provides funding to the Trustees to conduct natural resource restoration, reimburses agencies for assessment and restoration costs, and incorporates additional requirements for Enbridge from the settlement between the State of Michigan and Enbridge. The two settlements together will result in restoration, compensation and reimbursement of costs expected to cost Enbridge at least $62 million.
The consent decree that settles all of the NRD claims was signed by the judge and entered in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, Southern Division, on December 3, 2015.
News Release: Settlement Announced June 8, 2015
In the Final Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan (see below), the Trustees described how they plan implement the consent decree by conducting the following projects:
The NRD settlement also incorporates certain requirements from the state’s settlement with Enbridge, including requirements to:
Enbridge has already implemented additional projects that relate to losses of natural resources:
The Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment was finalized on October 20, 2015. The final document includes responses to comments made by the public on the draft document as a result of the public comment period that was held in June and July of 2015.
Before completing the final plan and environmental assessment, the Trustees asked for public comment on a Draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment (DARP/EA). The document described the harm caused by the pipeline rupture and the proposed suite of restoration projects designed to address these injuries and losses. The Draft DARP/EA was available for public review and comment with a 45-day comment period that was open from June 12 to July 27, 2015.
Trustee reports and other documents for the Enbridge Line 6B Natural Resource Damage Assessment
If you have any questions or comments related to the Michigan Enbridge NRDA, contact us via email or telephone: