NRDAR - Natural Resources Damage Assessment & Restoration Branch

When oil or hazardous substances enter the environment, fish, wildlife and other natural resources can be injured. Our NRDAR Branch identifies the natural resources injured, determines the extent of the injuries, recovers damages from those responsible, and plans and carries out natural resource restoration activities.


The Bay-Delta Fish & Wildlife Office Department of Natural Resources Damage Assessment and Restoration has jurisdiction over the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, San Francisco Bay proper along with the adjacent tidal marshlands and areas included in the tidal marsh recovery plan, and the anadromous or estuarine fish habitat in neighboring rivers and streams. The surrounding area is under the jurisdiction of the Sacramento Fish & Wildlife Office.

Restorations in Progress

contaminant worker at Cosco spill
FWS worker at Cosco spill
FWS Photo

 Cosco Busan Oil Spill: On November 7, 2007 the cargo vessel Cosco Busan hit the San Francisco Bay Bridge in heavy fog. The impact ruptured the hull and spilled about 58,000 gallons of fuel oil into San Francisco Bay.  The Trustees have selected 12 restoration projects to restore and compensate for the injured resources and created a process that is intended to identify numerous recreational use improvements.

Staff from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office recently received an award from the Department of the Interior's Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program for their contributions to the successful assessment, settlement and quick restoration implementation for the Cosco Busan Oil Spill. See story

Chevron Castro Cove: This case involved the release of hydrocarbons and mercury from Chevron's Richmond Oil Refinery into Castro Cove. The Trustees selected two restoration projects to provide compensation for injuries to Natural Resources in Castro Cove.  These projects are the Breuner Marsh and Cullinan Ranch Restoration projects.

Luckenbach Oil Spill: This case addresses chronic releases of oil from the SS Jacob Luckenbach, a vessel that sank in the Pacific Ocean offshore of San Francisco in 1953. The Trustees are implementing 14 restoration projects to benefit birds injured from the releases. 

Kinder Morgan Suisun Marsh Diesel Spill: This case involves a 2004 diesel pipeline spill in Suisun Marsh. The Service and the California Department of Fish and Game have selected 2 restoration projects in the Suisun Marsh area to compensate for injuries to marsh habitats.

Command Oil Spill: This case involves a 1998 oil spill in the Pacific Ocean offshore of San Mateo County. The Service is partnering with four other agencies to implement 10 restoration projects for seabirds and other resources affected by the spill.

Dubai Star Oil Spill:  During a refueling incident, the T/V Dubai Star spilled over 400 gallons of Fuel Oil into San Francisco Bay. The spill affected more than 10 miles of shoreline and resulted in shoreline oiling, bird mortalities, as well as beach and fisheries closures in the vicinity of Alameda Island.  The Service responded to the spill, assessed injuries to natural resources along with other State and Federal Trustee agencies (Trustees) and supported the State settlement with the responsible party. Locations for restoration projects include Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary and Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda. 

Almaden Quicksilver Mine: This case involves releases of mercury from a mine in Santa Clara County into tributaries of the Guadalupe River. The responsible parties are implementing five restoration projects to benefit fish and wildlife affected by the mercury releases.

Iron Mountain Mine: This case addresses decades of releases of acid mine drainage and heavy metals into the Sacramento River near Redding. The Service is partnering with four other agencies to implement three restoration projects to benefit salmon and other resources.

Contaminant workers
Contaminant Workers
Photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Completed Restorations

Apex Houston Oil Spill: This case involved a 1986 oil spill in the Pacific Ocean offshore of San Francisco. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and partners restored a Common Murre colony at Devils Slide Rock and completed other restoration actions for seabirds injured by the spill.

Shell Martinez Oil Spill: Following this 1988 oil spill at the Shell refinery in Martinez, the Service and other Trustees implemented a restoration program to restore fish and wildlife populations and habitats affected by the spill.

United Heckathorn Superfund Site: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and partners restored a 72-acre tidal marsh on San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge to compensate for impacts of pesticide releases from a chemical manufacturing facility in Richmond.

Cape Mohican Oil Spill: This case involves a 1996 oil spill in San Francisco Bay. The Service partnered with four other agencies to implement 12 restoration projects to benefit birds, fish, and shoreline habitats affected by the spill.