Louisiana Ecological Services
Southeast Region


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Environmental Contaminants

Cleaning an oiled Pelican

Environmental Contaminants Coordinator monitors the recovery of wildlife species affected by oilspills.
Photo Credit: USFWS

Pollution is one of the American's greatest environmental concerns. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the primary Federal agency dedicated to protecting wildlife and their habitats from pollution's harmful effects.

What We Do

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Louisiana Environmental Contaminants Coordinator works along-side industry as well as state and federal agencies to ensure wildlife can co-exist with natural resource developement as well as agriculture, forestry, and transportation activities. We are responsible and involved in:

  • Oil and chemical spill response
  • Providing technical support
  • Restoring habitats injured by pollution through NRDAR
  • Conducting environmental investigations


Oil and Chemical Spill Response

When an oil or chemical spill occurs, our contaminant coordinator responds to protect our nation's natural resources. During a spill incident, we provide technical expertise to the Federal On-Scene Coordinator to minimize impacts to threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, certain marine mammals, freshwater fish, and their supporting habitat. We also oversee the collection and rehabilitation of oiled and injured wildlife as a result of the spill incident. To ensure a successful and coordinated response effort, we regularly participate in spill response contingency planning and multi-agency response exercises with local, State and other Federal agencies, and with industry.

To find more information on oil and chemical spill response or to report a spill, visit the USFWS-Environmental Contaminants Program, National Response Center, EPA, and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.


Oilspill on Farmland. Credit:  USFWS
Assisting landowners during oil and chemical spills.

Credit: USFWS

Oilspill along Barrier Islands.  Credit:  USFWS
Coordinating wildlife rescues and damage assessments during large-scale spill events.

Credit: USFWS

Oilspill Assessment. Credit:  USFWS
Assessment of spill compounds and its potential impact to wildlife.

Credit: USFWS

Release of rehabilitated Sandpiper.  Credit Terri Jacobson
Completing their work by releasing rehabilitated wildlife.

Credit: USFWS


Technical Support

We provide environmental contaminants expertise to all Service programs including the National Wildlife Refuge System, Endangered Species, Migratory Birds, Fisheries, Marine Mammals, and Law Enforcement. Our Contaminant Coordinator works with EPA, Department of Defense, and other Federal and State agencies responsible for cleaning up contaminated sites by providing invaluable information on sensitive resources and recommendations to ensure that the cleanups protect natural resources for the continuing benefit of the public. We also provide basic research information on the effects of different contaminants (metals, petroleum products, pesticides and other organic compounds) and assist in evaluating risks and fate of those contaminants to fish and wildlife resources.


Natural Resource Damage Assessment & Restoration (NRDAR)

The NRDAR process is used by our contaminant biologists to determine the amount of restoration needed to restore the habitats and resources back to the condition they would have been like had the contaminants not been released and to compensate the public for the lost use and enjoyment of their natural resources.

For more information on the NRDAR process, visit the Department of Interior's NRDAR Homepage


Environmental Investigations

Our contaminant biologists design and conduct investigations to identify and quantify contaminant impacts to fish and wildlife resources on and off Service lands. The investigations result in specific management recommendations to prevent, reduce, or eliminate these impacts. Investigations are based on sound scientific designs reviewed through a scientific peer review process. Finished reports are then made available to the public and other governmental agencies.

Click here to see a video of USFWS's response to Hurricane Katrina

For more information contact Brad Rieck @ 337.291.3116.


Last updated: October 18, 2016