New York Field Office
Northeast Region

Buffalo River Natural Resource Damage Assessment

Background
The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Tuscarora Nation, collectively the Trustees of the Buffalo River, are conducting a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). The goal of the NRDA process is to restore trust resources injured as a result of the release of hazardous substances to the environment.  Natural resources of the Buffalo River include land, surface water, groundwater, and biota.

Recent News and Publications

December, 8, 2017: Notice of Intent to prepare a draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Buffalo River, Buffalo, New York; request for restoration project suggestions 
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Tuscarora Nation, and the State of New York Department of Environmental Conservation (collectively the Trustees) are issuing this notice of intent to prepare a draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for Buffalo River natural resource restoration pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) regulations. As described in more detail below, a Restoration Plan establishes goals for using settlement monies and/or injunctive relief from responsible parties to restore, replace, or acquire the equivalent of the injured or lost natural resources and services. The Trustees are requesting public input in identifying specific restoration project ideas from the categories described here to assist the Trustees in the development of the draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Buffalo River, in Buffalo, New York.  In addition to ideas for feasible restoration projects, the draft Restoration Plan will provide criteria and guidance for the Trustees to use in the selection of feasible natural resource restoration projects; it will also identify and evaluate the environmental impacts associated with restoration actions that may be implemented.  This notice briefly explains the NRDAR process and how the Trustees will use input from the public in development of the Buffalo River draft Restoration Plan.  Public input is being accepted until Feb. 9, 2018.

April 15, 2014: The Trustees announce the release of the Trustee Groundwater Injury Determination report.  Information is summarized in the Groundwater Injury Determination Fact Sheet and additional information can be found in the Groundwater Injury Determination Document

Groundwater Injury Determination Fact Sheet

Groundwater Injury Determination Document

October 4, 2012: The Service, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Tuscarora Nation, collectively the Trustees of the Buffalo River, are conducting a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA).  The goal of the NRDA process is to restore trust resources injured as a result of the release of hazardous substances to the environment.  The below fact sheet is to inform provides information to the public of the on-going process to restore the Buffalo River and release of the Trustee document: Fish Consumption Advisory Injury Determination.  Restoration through NRDA is separate, and in addition to, the on-going remedy in the Buffalo River.

Fish Consumption Injury Determination Fact Sheet

Fish Consumption Injury Determination Document

Buffalo River natural resource damages will be assessed (January 16, 2009)

The Service and New York state will pursue a claim for significant environmental damages to the Buffalo River. For decades, companies operating along the river discharged toxic chemicals or oil into the river, harming fish, wildlife and their habitat. The Natural Resources Damages claim will reflect the value of projects to restore resources to their condition before the pollution began.

Buffalo River Pre-Assessment Screen (PDF, 2.2 MB)

Buffalo Ricver downstream of Exxon

Buffalo River as it flows past industrial area of Buffalo, N.Y.
Amy Roe/USFWS

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Last updated: December 11, 2017
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted.