The best way to protect our natural resources from the threat of contamination is through prevention.  To prepare for responding to emergency hazardous materials spills, pre-spill planning is a part of our job.  We also review pesticide permits and water quality criteria to make sure they are protective of our resources.

Photo - Biologists collect water samples for pesticide and nutrient analysis in Oregon spotted frog habitat (USFWS).Investigations

Biologists in our Environmental Contaminants Program monitor the health of fish and wildlife at our National Wildlife Refuges.  In addition, we examine known and potential sources of pollution that may affect fish and wildlife resources. To view a list of field studies and reports, click here.

Spill Response, Natural Resource Damage Assessment, and Restoration

Our Contaminants Program works with state and federal agencies to protect fish and wildlife during a spill event.  In addition, we assess damages to natural resources so that habitats impacted by contaminant releases can be restored.

Depicted below is an example of a restoration project in the North Fork John Day River Basin.

Photo - North Fork John Day River Basin site before restoration of historic mine tailings (Courtesy of Grant County Soil and Water District).
Photo - Partial funding for the restoration came from damages awarded from an acid spill (Courtesy of Grant County Soil and Water District).

Technical Assistance

Contaminants biologists provide technical expertise to the private sector,as well as state and and other governmental agencies, on topics including: ecological risk assessment, water quality, superfund sites, pesticide use and registration, endangered species issues, and National Wildlife Refuge assessments and cleanups.

How to Contact Us

Ted Buerger, Division Manager
Jeremy Buck , Senior Environmental Contaminants Specialist
Elizabeth Materna , Environmental Contaminants Specialist
Mike Szumski , Natural Resource Damage Assessment Specialist



Items of Note

Water Quality
Oregon Water Quality Criteria Biological Opinion (August 2012)

Spill Response

How to Report a Chemical or Oil Spill

Spill Incidents
New Carissa
Johnson Creek

Portland Harbor NRDA

Key Information Page

Ongoing Project
Photo - Fender's Blue Butterfly (USFWS).
Herbicide Use in Endangered Butterfly Habitat

SMARxT Disposal Website
Responsible Medication Disposal Safeguards Lives and Protects the Environment

News Release
Medicine Disposal Partnership will Encourage Public to Flush Less, Crush More

The Extension Technology Network
A source of objective, science-based information about pesticides written for the non-expert.

Image - Pollinator Poster (Credit: Paul Mirocha 2004).
Pollinator Portal
Birds, bees, and bats are critical to the production of most fruits and vegetables.

Kids in Nature
Photo - Students assist with amphibian surveys (USFWS).
Amphibian Surveys

Students assist with field surveys.