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Conserving the Nature
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
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Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration
Quantifying damages to natural resources caused by the release of contaminants (intentional releases or accidental spills), is the goal the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Environmental Contaminants program. We use the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process to quantify contaminant-caused damages. Ultimately, the results of an NRDA are used to procure the cost of those damages from the responsible party, and then the procured funds are used to restore injured habitats and resources.
Restoring habitats and resources to the condition they would have been had the hazardous substances not been released, and to compensate the public for the loss of their use or enjoyment of natural resources is the ultimate goal of the NRDA process and the Service's Environmental Contaminants Program.
About Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Restoration
The Restoration Program USFWS
Damage Assessments and Restorations in the Midwest
In 1947 Congress established Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, with a mission to support wildlife, recreation, agriculture, and industry. Prior to modern environmental laws, it was common practice for industrial facilities, including those on the Refuge, to use unlined landfills and dumps to dispose of the waste generated by their operations. As a result, a number of locations on the Refuge became contaminated. As part of the Fish and Wildlife Service's Environmental Quality program, personnel stationed at the Marion CERCLA Field Office work on hazardous materials issues that affect federal trust resources on Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.
Pipe Line Oil Release near Mt. Erie, Illinois
Crude oil spilled from a pipeline rupture south of the towns of Mt. Erie and north of Golden Gate, Wayne County, Illinois. The spill occurred on August 10, 2008. This report documents the extent of damages to natural resources and plans to restore those resources.
Releases of hazardous substances and petroleum products from the Former Indian Refinery caused damages near Lawrenceville, Illinois.
The Sauget, Illinois Industrial Corridor Sites include a series of facilities, landfills, waste disposal areas, sludge lagoons, and contaminated waterways located around the Villages of Sauget, Cahokia, and East St. Louis, St. Clair County, Illinois. The Sites have been proposed for listing under the National Priorities List for clean up.
On August 12, 13, and 14, 2019, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), and National Park Service (NPS), investigated and discovered the occurrence of a significant fish die-off in the East Branch Little Calumet River (EBLCR), Burns Harbor, Port County, Indiana.
On March 20, 2018 a pipeline carrying No. 2 diesel fuel was breached, resulting in the discharge of approximately 58,800 gallons of fuel into Big Creek located in the southwestern tip of Indiana in Posey County. Big Creek is a tributary to the Wabash River which flows into the Ohio River.
The Grand Calumet River, originating in the east end of Gary, Indiana, flows 13 miles through the heavily industrialized cities of Gary, East Chicago, and Hammond. Eight responsible parties have entered into a settlement agreement to restore natural resources harmed by releases of substances such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), oil, benzene, cyanide, and heavy metals into the river.
On April 2, 2019 an eight inch product pipeline carrying “Natural Gasoline” breached, resulting in the discharge of approximately 12,600 gallons into a tributary of Billy Creek in Clay County, Indiana. Investigations revealed that there were dead fish and ducks on the unnamed tributary and Billy Creek. Dead animals were recovered as safety permitted in the second day of spill recovery efforts. Affected fish and wildlife included 8 wood ducks (Aix sponsa), one Louisiana waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla), nearly 400 small fish and minnows, as well as several salamanders and frogs. The forested corridors along Billy Creek also provide suitable summer habitat to the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and the threatened northern long-eared bat (Myotis sepentrionalis).
Guttenberg, Iowa, 2008 Train Derailment
A train derailment resulted in diesel fuel and lubricating oils being spilled into the Upper Mississippi River south of the town of Guttenberg, Clayton County, Iowa. The spill occurred on July 9, 2008. This report documents the extent of damages to natural resources and plans to restore those resources.
Guttenberg, IA 2008 Train Derailment Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment - Nov. 25, 2015 (24-page PDF )
Mississippi River Pool 15, Iowa
A Superfund Site located along the Mississippi River shoreline in Riverdale, Scott County, Iowa, released hazardous substances (a variety of inorganic and organic compounds) into the Upper Mississippi River. This Restoration Plan evaluates various alternatives to help restore natural resources that were injured from those releases.
Upper Mississippi River Pool 15 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment - July 30, 2011 (PDF)
Appendix A (PDF) Appendix B (PDF)
Calmus Creek Injuries (Cerro Gordo County): Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment - November 26, 2007(12-page PDF; 513KB) Wetland injuries were the result of chalky solid materials released into Calmus Creek.
March 2002 Yellow River Fish Kill: Restoration Plan & Environmental Assessment - September 24, 2007(18-page PDF; 750KB) - A fish kill occurred from the un-permitted release of partially treated sewage into Hecker Creek and the Yellow River of Allamakee County, Iowa.
Missouri River Floodplain, Iowa
A hazardous waste site located near Sergeant Bluff,, Woodbury County, Iowa, released heavy metals into floodplain wetlands of the Missouri River. This Restoration Plan evaluates various alternatives to help restore natural resources that were injured from those releases.
Missouri River Floodplain Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment - July 2002 (PDF)
Figure 1 (PDF) FONSI (PDF)
During July 2010, 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.
Industrial activities on the Kalamazoo River and Portage Creek released polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to those waterways and the surrounding environment. As a result, the U.S. EPA designated areas downstream of the releases of PCBs as the Allied Paper, Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River Superfund Site.
A Natural Resources Damage Assessment was completed for the North Bronson Industrial Area Superfund Site where injuries were a result of hazardous substances discharged at and from the site. Contamination downstream was so severe that cows died along the stream.
Rouge River: 2002 diesel fuel and waste oil spills (goes to the Marine Incidents website)
Beginning in the 1940s, industrial facilities and wastewater treatment plants on the Saginaw River, Michigan, released PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and related compounds into the Saginaw River.
Injuries are a result of releases of hazardous substances at and from the Dow plant property in Midland, Michigan to the Tittabawassee River.
Tri-State Mining District encompass multiple Superfund sites, thousands of acres of impacted land, and hundreds of miles of contaminated streams. This mining district, along with the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District, make up the number one historic lead and zinc production areas in the nation, respectively.
Mining and smelting sites within St. Francois, Reynolds, Jefferson and Iron Counties in Missouri are located within the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District (SEMOLMD), an area that was mined extensively for lead and zinc for more than a century. As a result of this mining and related activities, large amounts of metals including cadmium, lead, zinc, and nickel were released and are continuing to be released into Missouri's environment.
Injuries are a result of the release of hazardous substances at the Fenton Creek Dump Site (also known as the Chrysler Dump).
Eastern Missouri Dioxin Sites Restoration (2011)
Columbia Missouri ES field Office (CMFO) finalized contracts with Shaw Nature Preserve to eradicate invasive honeysuckle on 66 acres of forested migratory bird habitat in the Meramec River basin as part of Restoration Plan for the Eastern Missouri Dioxin Sites. The Eastern Missouri Dioxin Sites are 27 residential, commercial, and industrial sites centered near St. Louis that had been sprayed with dioxin-contaminated waste oil for dust suppression in the 1960s and 70s. The CMFO provided $30,000 of restoration settlement funds to the Shaw Nature Preserve to eradicate invasive plant species. The restoration served to enhance valuable migratory bird habitat in accordance with the Restoration Plan for the Eastern Missouri Dioxin (a.k.a. Times Beach) Sites and were made possible by working with multiple state and NGO partners. CMFO Environmental Contaminants biologists worked with Shaw Nature Preserve and other partners to establish a migratory bird monitoring program to assess the efficacy of the habitat restoration.
The Ashtabula River is located in northeast Ohio, flowing into Lake Erie at Ashtabula Ohio. Tributaries include Fields Brook, Hubbard Run, Strong Brook, and Ashtabula Creek. The bottom sediments, bank soils and biota of Fields Brook have been severely contaminated by unregulated discharges of hazardous substances.
Ohio River Fish, Mussel, and Snail Kill (Restoration Plan; 8-07; 500kb PDF)
Nature resource injuries were due to the release of hazardous substances from a ferro-alloy manufacturing facility into the Ohio River. Releases of hazardous substances in excess of the limitations set forth in the facility’s wastewater discharge permit allegedly resulted in a series of fish, mussel, and snail kills within a twenty-mile segment of the river.
Decades of manufacturing activity and improper waste disposal practices have resulted in the release of hazardous substances to the Ottawa River and its watershed.
Natural resource injuries were caused by releases of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) by paper companies into the Lower Fox River and Green Bay assessment area.
Industrial activities along the Sheboygan River released polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), heavy metals, and oil residues within the waterway and the surrounding environment. As a result, the U.S. EPA designated the lower 14 miles of the Sheboygan River a Superfund Site.
The Southern Lakes Trap & Skeet Club at the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa was located near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The Site included a trap and skeet shooting range; shooting stations were located such that spent shot was deposited in and around a 36-acre wetland on the Site. The Service investigated the death of Canada geese near the Site, and concluded the geese died from lead poisoning resulting from the consumption of lead shot released at the Site.