Midwest Region


July 25, 2011

Stephanie Millsap, 734-692-7628

Natural Resource Trustees Continue to Assess Damage Related to 2010 Spill in Kalamazoo River

A year after more than 800,000 gallons of oil spilled into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Michigan, tribal and government agencies, acting as trustees for injured natural resources, continue to conduct studies and surveys to assess the amount of damage to fish, wildlife and habitat.  The trustees’ activities are part of a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) that will result in restoration of the resources and resource services lost to the public as a result of the spill.

Trustee representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Attorney General, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, and the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi are working on the Trustee Council addressing injuries from the spill.

NRDA is the process used by federal, state and tribal governments to jointly seek compensation on behalf of the public for natural resources injured or destroyed when areas become contaminated with oil or other hazardous substances.  The Trustee agencies and tribes work to restore habitats and resources to pre-spill conditions, and to compensate the public for the lost use and enjoyment of the resources.  Compensation is sought from the party responsible for the damage, in this case, Enbridge Energy.

The spill that is the subject of the NRDA work occurred in July 2010, when Enbridge Energy Partners LLP reported a 30-inch pipeline ruptured near Marshall, Michigan, releasing an estimated 819,000 gallons into Talmadge Creek, which flows into the Kalamazoo River.  Heavy rains caused the river to overtop its banks and carried oil over 30 miles downstream on the Kalamazoo River and into adjacent floodplains.

Within days of the spill, trustees began collecting data to understand the spill’s impact – and the impact of response actions - on natural resources and recreational use values in and near the creek and river.  Throughout the past year, the trustees have gathered information on water, fish, mussels, invertebrates such as insects and crustaceans, vegetation, recovery and rehabilitation of oiled wildlife, and recreational closures.  Collection of data continues as trustees work to identify and quantify the spill’s impacts.

Once impacts are fully identified, trustees will commence restoration planning.  The process involves identifying projects that benefit the same or similar resources that were injured by the spill.  The public will have an opportunity for review and comment upon the draft assessment and restoration plan.  As response work is still ongoing and conditions on the ground are still evolving, the trustees do not have a schedule for when restoration planning will commence.  

For more information on the NRDA program from the Service, visit:

For more information on the NRDA program from the state of Michigan, visit

For more information on the NRDA program from NOAA, visit


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Last updated: June 15, 2016