Natural Resource Damage Assessments

Overview

With the enactment of legislation beginning in the 1970s, Congress brought into being the field of natural resource damage assessment (NRDA). Five federal laws have been passed by Congress to hold certain parties responsible for the costs of restoration of the environment in the aftermath of a variety of incidents--spills of oil, releases of hazardous substances, and even physical injuries to resources found in national park units and marine sanctuaries. Claims are brought by federal, state, and/or tribal "trustees" of natural resources against those considered liable under the statutes, and funds recovered through settlement or trial are used to make the environment and public "whole." Damages and assessment costs can easily run into the millions. Resolution of natural resource damage claims can be through protracted litigation or, by comparison, cost-effective, efficient "collaborative assessments."

EI's interdisciplinary NRDA team of scientists, engineers, economists and regulatory specialists is second to none, having worked on natural resource damage assessments since the incipience of the field. EI's team helps parties through the NRDA labyrinth to craft cost-effective approaches to injury determination and quantification and damage assessment.

EI also helps responsible parties and trustees turn headlines of disaster into stories of success and public acclaim through streamlined collaborative assessments that lead to environmental restoration sooner, with lower transaction costs, than protracted litigation.

EI has provided advice on matters ranging from oil spills to hazardous waste releases associated with industry operations. Our NRDA services include:

  • Preassessment Screens
  • Natural Resource Injury Determination and Quantification
  • Damage Valuation
  • Restoration Planning and Implementation
  • Collaborative Natural Resource Damage Assessments
  • Coordination of CERCLA Remedial Investigations with NRDAs
  • Public Participation
  • Expert Witness Services

If you would like to discuss how EI can assist you regarding NRDA, please contact us at (206) 525-3362, or email us at staff@eiltd.net.

 

Example Projects

NRDA Reference Deskbook

Environmental Law Institute (ELI)

EI NRDA experts authored the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Deskbook: Legal and Technical Analysis, published by the Environmental Law Institute for resource management professionals and lawyers. EI analyzed various economic tools and techniques used in natural resource damage assessments to assign damages. EI economists examined cost estimation approaches and various methods of determining lost use value. EI experts exhaustively researched laws, policies, guidances and case law related to NRDA to provide the most accurate and up-to-date advice.

Portland Harbor NRDA Support

Grand Ronde, Umatilla, Siletz, Nez Perce, Warm Springs Tribes, Yakima

On behalf of six Tribes, EI provided technical and strategic support for a cooperative NRDA at the Portland Harbor Superfund site in Oregon. EI's support included the development of a conceptual site model that identifies potential pathways and injuries for resources, including salmonids, sturgeon, lamprey and other species that are of concern to the tribes. EI coordinated with multiple government organizations and at least ten responsible parties to develop a base of information from which to determine injuries. EI provided additional support by participating on committees developing toxicological profiles for contaminants of concern at the site.

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TESTIMONIALS

"I was impressed with the efficiency of the audit team members, who worked closely together to interview personnel in various positions …covering many environmental areas including the hazardous waste facility. The Team's ISO 14001 knowledge was extensive. The recommendations you provided in the audit report have helped ISC Kodiak further develop their EMS and improve their EMS implementation Process."

- Sunsan L. Boyle
Lead Environmental Specialist
US Coast Guard

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TESTIMONIALS

"The Siletz Tribe appreciates the work you have done to provide information on the state of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site and the effect of pollutants on tribal members who consume fish from the Willamette River."

- Brenda Bremner
Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

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TESTIMONIALS

“I want to commend you and EI for your facilitation. The results of the facilitation were exceptional, with all parties leaving the table happy, surprised, and incredulous at how you got the group to come to consensus over issues on which we had been stuck for a long time.

- Jon Gornick
US Army Corps of Engineers

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TESTIMONIALS

“I have been consistently impressed by the high quality of the written work your office produces, as well as the remarkable breadth and depth of technical know-how you and your team have. I have been extremely satisfied with EI's ability to produce high-quality work while staying on time and on or under budget."

- Cathy Hendrickson
Georgetown Crime Prevention & Community Council

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TESTIMONIALS

"Throughout the two-year process of developing the rule [under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act], Dr. Bridgen was able not only to juggle the many tasks involved, and to produce high quality products on time, but to offer good alternatives for approaching problems encountered in the course of the project. Her involvement enabled the Agency to develop a good rule, within the time and budget allotted."

-Christine Augustyniak
Deputy Director
Environmental Assistance Division
US EPA

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TESTIMONIALS

“ Dr. Bridgen obviously has a great deal of EMS implementation experience, which gives her a wealth of examples to broaden and deepen the understanding of the principles and techniques that we are now incorporating at our facilities.“

- Laura Halterman
Department of Veterans Affairs

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TESTIMONIALS

"Attendees appreciated the opportunity to interact, communicate and relate their experiences and issues with one another. We were very successful in establishing a springboard for further interaction and resolution to the many issues facing the Native American communities …"

- Douglas W. Grosse
National Risk Management Research Labratory
US EPA

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TESTIMONIALS

"We would like to commend EI for your creative and thorough approach to address these issues of concern to the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council (CIRCAC), stakeholders, and the public-at-large ... CIRCACV was very impressed by EI's exceptional understating of State and Federal law, through research, perceptive analysis, and their ability to work effectively with various stakeholders. "

- Rory Dabney
Program Coordinator
CIRCAC

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TESTIMONIALS

“EI's ability to coordinate among our partners in the cooperative process is impressive … EI has shown tremendous ability to ensure open channels of communication with us, with our partners and with those on the other side of the table. Even when negotiations have gotten particularly difficult, EI has demonstrated a sense of ethics and diplomacy, all the while ensuring that the Tribe's voice is heard. “

-Delores Pigsley
Tribal Council Chairman
Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

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TESTIMONIALS

“The Siletz Tribe appreciates the work you have done to provide information on the state of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site and the effect of pollutants on tribal members who consume fish from the Willamette River."

- Brenda Bremner
Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

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TESTIMONIALS

"I want to commend the performance of EI and, in particular, Valerie Lee in the community involvement and communication effort associated with development of the Kalispel Tribe's EMS...This project is setting a precedent by developing an ISO 14001 compliant EMS to ensure that environmental issues receive the amount of attention that the Tribe, as a steward of the environment, believes they deserve."

-Scott Hall
Kalispel Tribe of Indians

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TESTIMONIALS

"I was impressed with the efficiency of the audit team members, who worked closely together to interview personnel in various positions …covering many environmental areas including the hazardous waste facility. The Team's ISO 14001 knowledge was extensive. The recommendations you provided in the audit report have helped ISC Kodiak further develop their EMS and improve their EMS implementation Process."

- Sunsan L. Boyle
Lead Environmental Specialist
US Coast Guard

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TESTIMONIALS

The Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council was very impressed by EI's exceptional understanding of State and Federal law, through research, perceptive analysis, and their ability to work effectively with various stakeholders.

- Rory Dabney
Program Coordinator
CIRCAC

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