Maine Contaminants & NRDAR Program
Northeast Region

Program Activities

Special Studies

Contaminant investigations are conducted by the Maine Field Office primarily with funds obtained through a highly competitive, rigorously reviewed, ranking proposal process administered by the Service's Division of Environmental Quality. On occasion, funds will be provided by state or federal partners through reimbursable agreements or inter-agency agreements.

Pre-Acquisition Surveys

Libby Island Lighhouse.  Photo by: S. Mierzykowski, USFWS

Libby Island Lighthouse
Photo by S. Mierzykowski, USFWS

When Federal funds are used to acquire lands for fish and wildlife conservation, contaminant surveys must be conducted to ensure the areas are safe for fish, wildlife, and the general public.  The Maine Field Office provides assistance to USFWS National Wildlife Refuge staff, and to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife regional biologists, so that additions to the refuge system or to the state wildlife management area program are thoroughly examined for any existing contaminant problems.  Our office has provided input during the acquisition of lighthouse islands from the U.S. Coast Guard, during the transfer of closed military bases (e.g. Loring Air Force Base in Limestone) from the U.S. Department of Defense, and for new parcels at Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge

Natural Resource Damage Assessments

The Department of the Interior is authorized to conduct Natural Resource Damage Assessments (NRDAs) under the provisions of the Clean Water Act, the Oil Pollution Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Compensation Liability Act (Superfund).  The Service, as a Bureau of the Department, may conduct damage assessments when fish and wildlife trust resources are harmed following oil and chemical spills.  For example, damage assessments were conducted by state and federal agencies following the 1996 Julie N oil spill in Portland and the 2001 Sanborn Pond oil spill in Brooks. The Maine Field Office is currently working on a cooperative assessment of the Chevron Site along the Penobscot River in Hampden and implementing the Restoration Plan for the Sanborn Pond Oil Spill (34 pp. 694KB).

Oil and Chemical Spills

Within the Service's Northeast Region, there is a cadre of experienced staff that respond to coastal or inland oil and chemical spills.  On major spills, Service personnel work in two areas: spill response and damage assessment.  Duties in these areas include identification of sensitive areas, recovery of oiled wildlife for cleaning and rehabilitation, shoreline assessments, and sample and evidence collections. The Maine Field Office is the primary Service responder for inland oil spills in Maine.

Oiled Piping Plover.  Photo by: S. Mierzykowski, USFWS 

Oiled Piping Plover at the Buzzards Bay oil spill. Photo by: S. Mierzykowski, USFWS

Staff from the Maine Field Office have responded to the North Cape (Charlestown,RI), Julie N (Portland, ME), Sanborn Pond (Brooks, ME), B120 (Buzzards Bay, MA), and M/V Athos (Delaware River, PA/NJ) spills.  The Maine Field Office, along with Moosehorn NWR, is also involved cross-border spill planning in the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy as part of the Canadian/US Atlantic Joint Preparedness Team (CANUSLANT).   The Maine Field Office was the lead USFWS office for planning in the Spill of National Significance (SONS) 2010 exercise. Staff from the Maine Field Office were deployed for months at the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Contaminant Assessment Process (CAP) Studies

CAPs are retrospective analyses of potential contaminant issues at National Wildlife Refuges.  The Maine Field Office is currently working with refuge staff to complete CAP reports or updates for several divisions of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and for Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge.

Last Updated: March 6, 2014
Maine Field Office
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