Fisheries & Ecological Services
Alaska Region


Environmental Contaminants

Spill Response & Restoration

Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration

Following a significant release of oil or other hazardous substances, federal and state trustee agencies initiate the natural resource damage assessment and restoration (NRDAR) process. Depending on the resources affected, those trustee agencies may include the Department of Interior (Fish and Wildlife Service and other affected bureaus), other Federal departments, and the Alaska Departments of Fish & Game, Natural Resources, Environmental Conservation, and Law.

While spill response, is focused on removing oil or hazardous substances from the environment and minimizing future damage, the goal of the NRDAR is to return injured resources and services to their pre-spill condition and to compensate the public for interim losses. To do this, trustees work cooperatively with responsible parties, negotiate legal settlements, or take legal actions.

After an oil spill occurs, the trustee agencies conduct a preliminary determination of injury (“preassessment”). Depending on their findings, the trusties may follow with injury assessment and restoration planning. Service biologists and contaminant specialists working with the other trustees assess injuries to trust resources and services.

The trustees then propose scientifically sound actions that restore, enhance or replace natural resources and services injured during the spill. Public input is an integral part of the restoration process. Once a restoration plan is developed, restoration is carried out with funding or in-kind services from the responsible party.

Service staff are actively engaged in natural resource damage assessment and restoration efforts associated with the following incidents in Alaska:

Adak / Sweeper Cove oil spill at Adak Island on January 11, 2010
M/V Selendang Ayu spill off Spray Cape, Unalaska Island, on Dec. 8, 2004
M/V Kuroshima spill in Summers Bay, Unalaska Island, on Nov. 26, 1997
M/V Citrus spill off St. Paul Island, in Feb. 1996
T/V Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, on Mar. 24, 1989

For more information about NRDAR efforts in Alaska, contact:

Veronica Varela
Regional Coordinator, Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Regional Office
1011 East Tudor Road, Mail Stop #361
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
Phone: (907) 786-3866; Fax (907) 786-3848; Cell (907) 317-1350

The Department of Interior’s NRDAR Program website also contains useful information about the NRDAR process.


Last updated: June 2017