Natural Resource Damage Assessment
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Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) is a legal process that federal agencies, together with affected states and Indian tribes, use to evaluate the impacts of oil spills, hazardous waste sites, and ship groundings on natural resources both along the nation's coast and throughout its interior. NRDA partners, referred to collectively as "natural resource trustees", work through a formal process authorized under the Oil Pollution Act and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act to identify the extent of natural resource injuries, the quantity and quality of restoration necessary to compensate the public for those damages. A number of methods have been developed for completing this work, including Habitat Equivalency Analysis and Resource Equivalency Analysis. NRDA is also authorized under the state Model Toxics Control Act, but with less clarification around methods and requirements.
- USFWS and NOAA typically collaborate to represent the United States, supported by the US Department of Justice. A decision for the US Government to pursue litigation depends on agreement with DOJ.
- Three offices within NOAA collaborate to implement NRDA under the DARRP program. https://www.darrp.noaa.gov/
- Typically Ecology is authorized by the Governor to represent the State of Washington.
- Indian Tribes participate as trustees based on on overlapping "usual and accustomed areas for fishing, hunting and gathering".
- NRDA claims and negotiations often use a Habitat Equivalency Analysis to generate a quantification of damages, and to compare injury from contamination to benefit of restoration.
- It would be nice to have links to relevant statue here.
- The largest NRDA cases in the Salish Sea are in the Duwamish Delta (referred to as Elliot Bay and Lower Duwamish) and Puyallup Delta (usually referred to as Commencement Bay.)
- A wave of NRDA actions are related to Ecology's Puget Sound Initiative