New York Field Office
Northeast Region

Hudson River Natural Resource Damage Assessment

Hudson River with damHudson River

The Hudson River is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), primarily from General Electric’s Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, New York, manufacturing plants.  Two hundred miles of the river have been designated a Federal Superfund Site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Fish and wildlife resources of the Hudson River valley, including fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates, and their habitats are contaminated with PCBs.  PCBs are a major concern because they persist in the environment for many decades, can be harmful at low concentrations, and accumulate in living creatures, posing a health hazard to fish, birds, mammals, and other wildlife.

To determine the need to restore those resources that have been adversely impacted by the contamination of the Hudson River, a natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) is being conducted by the Federal and State Natural Resource Trustees -- the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of the Interior (the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service), and New York State.  The NRDA was initiated in October 1997 with the Trustees' release of the Hudson River Preassessment Screen.  The Trustees have completed several preliminary investigations designed to improve our understanding of exposure of Hudson River resources to PCBs.  These preliminary investigations include an avian egg exposure investigation, floodplain soil and biota screening, an assessment of mink, muskrat, and otter for PCB exposure, a snapping turtle egg exposure investigation, and an assessment of contaminant levels in bullfrog and snapping turtle tissue, preliminary investigations of Eastern screech owl eggs and peregrine falcon eggs, and a preliminary investigation of frogs and sediments. On September 16, 2002, the Trustees issued an Assessment Plan for the Hudson River. That Plan identifies the procedures the Trustees will use to evaluate injuries to natural resources from PCBs. The focus of the NRDA is the restoration of those injured natural resources. The Trustees are in the process of implementing the Assessment Plan. Work in progress by the Trustees includes studies on biological resources (such as fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals), and other natural resources (such as surface water).

More information, including the Analytical Quality Assurance Plan, and other documents, is available at the Hudson River NRDA Website. That Website also provides details regarding how to join a listserv the Trustees have established to provide updates on the ongoing NRDA and restoration efforts for the Hudson River. You are invited to join the listserv.

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Last updated: March 21, 2016
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