Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration

To restore natural resources injured by oil spills or hazardous substance releases.

This is to be done by Natural Resource Trustees; seeking and identifying natural resources injured, determining the extent of the injuries, recovering damages from responsible parties, and planning and carrying

credit: Fast Co Exist
out natural resource restoration activities.

The purpose of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) Program is to restore natural resources and their services that have been injured by an oil spill or hazardous substance release for the benefit of the American people.

This is done by Natural Resource Trustees, including the U.S.

Fish and Wildlife Service.

We identify natural resources and their services that have been injured, determine the extent of the injuries, recover damages from responsible parties, and plan and carry out natural resource restoration activities.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Fiscal Year 2017: FY17: In FY17, the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, through the U.S.

Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), continued a cooperative agreement with Great Land Trust, an Alaskan non-profit organization that specializes in working in voluntary partnerships with landowners, agencies, communities and other partners to improve the quality of life and economic health of Alaskan communities within the area impacted by the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Habitat protection and acquisition is part of the Trustee Council?s overall strategy to offset the harm done by the oil spill to marine and coastal natural resources, their habitats, and the human uses of those natural resources, in accordance with the 1991 natural resource damages civil settlement with the Exxon Corporation.

Using the Trustee Council?s habitat prioritization process, Great Land Trust worked in FY17 with the State of Alaska, the Kodiak Island Borough, the native village corporation Lesnoi, Inc., and Trustee Council representatives, including the Service, to achieve the conservation and protection of 1,058 acres of habitat important for marine birds, sea otters, juvenile fish, and many other natural resources at Kodiak Island, including approximately 4.6 miles of coastal shoreline, 57 acres of freshwater and coastal wetlands, and 1,001 acres of upland habitat.

The project provides for public access to the area for recreational and subsistence fishing, hiking, camping, bird and whale watching, and Native Alaskan cultural uses.

The area is now managed by the Kodiak Island Borough for the benefit of the public.

A restoration project was initiated in FY17 using funding from a Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration settlement with multiple responsible parties who were involved in the release of PCBs into the Fox River and Green Bay in Wisconsin.

The ultimate objective of the project is to restore and enhance fish and wildlife habitat associated with coastal wetlands of Lower Green Bay, with specific benefits to northern pike (Esox lucius), waterfowl, and marsh birds.

The outcomes of this project will be the establishment of 30 acres of aquatic vegetation, the protection of coastal shoreline wetland habitat, the enhancement and management of 26 acres of coastal wetlands, and the creation of 5 acres of pike spawning habitat.

Secondary outcomes include benefits to water quality, property values, aesthetics, cultural awareness, and restoration ecology.

Specific accomplishments will include: installing engineered log jams to increase woody habitat, promote vegetation establishment, and protect the shoreline; establishing 30 acres of source vegetative plant communities by seeding and planting wild celery, wild rice, and hard-stem bulrush; and enhancing 26 acres of coastal wetlands and establishing 5 acres of pike spawning habitat at the Ken Euers Nature Area, a park owned and managed by the City of Green Bay. In FY17, the U.S.

Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) provided funds to the Ousatonic Fish and Game Protective Association (OFGPA) to prepare a design for restoring the East Aspetuck River, a tributary to the Housatonic River in northwest Connecticut.

The OFGPA is working with the Service to remove an antiquated dam and reconnect 10.1 miles of free-flowing riverine habitat for coldwater fish.

The design was recently submitted for approval to state and federal regulators.

In FY18, the Service hopes to provide additional funds to project partners to remove the dam and restore riparian habitat.

The OFGPA is a small club devoted to fishing, hunting, land and water preservation, and public education.

They hope to create improved fishing access at the site of the dam and educate the public about the river restoration effort once it?s completed.

The river restoration and fishing access improvements are intended to help compensate for injuries to the Housatonic River that resulted from years of upstream PCB contamination from the General Electric facility in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The Housatonic River Natural Resource Damage Trustees, including the Service, have funded more than 50 restoration projects with settlement funds.

In FY17, an Eastern Hellbender restoration project was funded with Richardson Road Landfill Superfund Site (RHRLSS) Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration settlement funds.

So far, the Wetlands Trust has acquired 5 acres along Butternut Creek and is about to close on an additional 7 acres - all of which is historic or known hellbender habitat.

All of the acquired acres will be protected, and habitat restoration (the addition/creation of habitat rock and juvenile rearing huts) will be conducted along 2,500 feet of the creek.

Funds are also supporting the rearing of approximately 100 hellbenders at a facility managed by the Wetland Trust in Unadilla, New York.

This project compensates for impacts to aquatic habitat in the watershed as a result of contaminant releases from the RHRLSS and supports the goal to protect habitat and encourage its public use. In FY17, a study was initiated that will identify specific physical factors that determine freshwater mussel habitat in the Big River within the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District (SEMO).

The study will help differentiate physical habitat factors from toxicological factors influencing mussel distribution in the Big River by modeling remotely-sensed and physical stream characteristics.

The study will compare these physical habitat factors between reference streams and contaminated reaches of the Big River.

The U.S.

Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will use the results of this study to refine the assessment portion of their Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration case, which seeks to restore natural resources, including freshwater mussel habitat in the Big River, that have been negatively impacted by historical and current lead mining activities.

The study was funded using appropriated (discretionary) NRDAR assessment dollars.

Fiscal Year 2018: We have not selected projects for funding.

Project selection occurs on a local or regional basis and can occur throughout the FY.

We anticipate funding projects to restore, replace, and/or acquire the equivalent of natural resources and their services that have been injured from oil spills or hazardous substance releases.

Fiscal Year 2019: We have not selected projects for funding.

Project selection occurs on a local or regional basis and can occur throughout the FY.

We anticipate funding projects to restore, replace, and/or acquire the equivalent of natural resources and their services that have been injured from oil spills or hazardous substance releases.


Agency - Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior protects and provides access to the Nation's natural and cultural heritage, including responsibilities to Indian tribes and island communities. Departmental goals include resource protection and usage, overseeing recreational opportunities, serving communities and excellence in management.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.

Please see www.fws.gov to locate Regional and Local Field Office Contacts.

For Regional Offices, ask to speak to the Regional NRDAR Coordinator.

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories





Selected Recipients for this Program


RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Brown, County Of $ 430,000   2021-09-012026-08-31
Meigs Soil & Water Conservation $ 24,000   2021-01-142025-12-31
Marinette, County Of $ 348,856   2021-08-012025-08-25
Neenah, City Of $ 420,000   2020-08-062025-06-26
Brown, County Of $ 150,000   2021-08-012024-12-31
Natural Resources, Ohio Department Of $ 306,140   2020-01-132024-12-31
University Of Illinois $ 347,168   2021-07-012024-06-30
Sheboygan, County Of $ 345,000   2021-07-012023-12-30
Wrightstown, Village Of $ 106,000   2021-03-012023-12-29
University Of Wisconsin System $ 183,511   2021-02-042023-11-30



Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2017: More than 6,000 acres and 200 streams/shorelines were enhanced and/or restored. More than 20,000 acres were newly managed, and more than 4,500 acres were protected through fee title or conservation easement. Nearly 400 river miles and 3,500 acres were made available for recreational opportunities. A total of 85 restoration projects were completed. Of those 85 projects, 26 projects benefited threatened or endangered species, 56 projects benefited migratory birds, 30 projects benefited interjurisdictional fishes, and 1 project benefited marine mammals (some projects benefited more than one trust resource category). Fiscal Year 2018: We anticipate accomplishments similar to those reported for FY17. Fiscal Year 2019: We anticipate accomplishments similar to those reported for FY17.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Assistance is provided to fund NRDAR-related activities that fall under two main sub-activities: 1) assessment, and 2) restoration.

Assessment activities are funded from either appropriated funds or recovered past assessment costs.

While assessment funding is discretionary, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other DOI Bureaus involved in NRDAR cases work as collaboratively as possible with our co-Trustees (e.g., states, federally-recognized tribes, and other federal agencies with natural resource management responsibilities that were impacted by the specific NRDAR case) when deciding what assessment activities to conduct and when to offer financial assistance for specific assessment activities.

Assessment activities support the specific NRDAR case and legal claim, and can include identifying the natural resources injured and any loss of services they provide (such as recreation), determining the extent of the injuries, scaling restoration costs and projects to the injuries, and determining damages (i.e., cost) necessary to restore the injured natural resources and services.

Restoration activities are funded from NRDAR case-specific settlement funds that were paid by the responsible party (or parties) to all Natural Resource Trustees that were part of the NRDAR claim.

These funds are non-discretionary as their use is dictated by the court consent decree (CD) or the court-lodged settlement for the case.

Furthermore, all Natural Resource Trustees must unanimously approve the expenditure of case settlement funds on restoration activities, through the administrative body of a Trustee Council (TC) and a TC Resolution.

Additionally, the TC produces a restoration plan(s), which is publicly reviewed, that further directs how settlement funds are to be spent and the type of restoration projects and activities that can be conducted.

Again, this restoration plan(s) involves the unanimous approval of all TC members before it can be finalized and implemented.

Restoration activities are intended to restore, replace, or acquire the equivalent of the injured natural resources and their services.

They can include the planning, implementation, and monitoring of restoration projects; the acquisition of land (for replacement of habitat, the benefit of injured wildlife species, and the benefit of the public); the creation of habitat, such as aquatic habitat in a stream or lake; and the creation, improvement, or enhancement of natural resource services, such as boating, hiking, and fishing opportunities, to replace lost services.

All assistance provided for NRDAR activities, both assessment and restoration, must meet the intent of the NRDAR Program as well as the specific needs of a given NRDAR case.

Yes and no.

The percentage of the NRDAR discretionary funds for the assessment sub-activity that are available for grants and cooperative agreements may range from 0 ? 100% depending on the needs of the specific NRDAR case, the approval of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service?s Authorized Official, and, when applicable, the approval of the DOI NRDAR Program.

Ideally, any decisions on the use of discretionary funds for assessment activities will be made collaboratively with our co-Trustees on the case.

However, collaboration and agreement by our co-Trustees is not necessary for our NRDAR assessment sub-activities.

NRDAR funds for the restoration sub-activity are non-discretionary.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Anyone/general public.

Use of assistance is primarily for natural resources but also can be for public education and recreation.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Anyone/general public.

Credentials/Documentation

Not applicable. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is not applicable.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Applicant must complete the Standard Form (SF) 424, and the appropriate Budget and Assurances forms (SF 424A and SF 424B - Non-construction; or SF 424C and SF 424D - Construction) Application for Federal Assistance.

Award Procedures

The Regional Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service or his or her designee approves or disapproves of proposed projects. Regional Offices are responsible for notifying the grantee of grant approval by the return of a completed agreement.

Deadlines

Not Applicable.

Authorization

Federal Water Pollution Control Act, 33 U.S.C §§1251-1387; Oil Pollution Act, 33 U.S.C. §2701 et seq.; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C §9601, et seq.; and Fish and Wildlife Act, 16 U.S.C §742 et seq.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 30 to 60 days. Approximately 45 working days after receipt, dependent upon the complexity of the agreement.

Appeals

Not Applicable.

Renewals

Project may be renewed as needed, if justified and if funds are available.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program. Matching Requirements: There are no matching fund requirements, however, matching funds are encouraged to allow for additional restoration. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Project Duration is between 1 and 5 years. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Funds are disbursed to recipients as requested and in accordance with 2 CFR 200, Subpart E-Cost Principles or as otherwise prescribed in program-specific legislation or special award terms.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Program reports are not applicable.

Cash reports are not applicable.

A performance report is required for each grant award annually within 90 days after the anniversary date.

A final performance report is due within 90 days of the end of the award period of performance.

Recipients must report expenditures using the SF 425, Federal Financial Report form.

Recipients must submit a final report no later than 90 calendar days after the award end date.

Recipients of awards with performance periods longer than 12 months will be required to submit interim reports.

Program may require recipients to submit interim reports annually, semiannually, or quarterly.

Program will detail all financial reporting requirements, including frequency and due dates, in the notice of award letter.

Recipients must submit a final performance report no later than 90 calendar days after the award end date.

Recipients of awards with performance periods longer than 12 months will be required to submit interim reports.

Program may require recipients to submit interim reports annually, semiannually, or quarterly.

Program will detail all performance reporting requirements, including frequency and due dates, in the notice of award letter.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.

Records

Cost records must be maintained separately for each awarded grant. Records, accounts and supporting documents must be retained for 3 years after submission of final financial and performance reports.

Financial Information

Account Identification

14-5198-1-4-303 - Recovered and Case Settlement Funds; 14-1611-0-1-302 - Resource Management; 14-1618-0-1-302 - Appropriated.

Obigations

(Project Grants (Discretionary)) FY 17 $4,615,818; FY 18 est $3,787,318; and FY 19 est $4,000,000 - Project Grants (Discretionary): FY17 $4,615,818; FY18 $3,787,318; FY19 $4,000,000. FY19 amount is an estimate based on prior year funding levels. These amounts are for the assessment sub-activity and are based on appropriated dollars for the DOI NRDAR Program to conduct NRDAR cases. Amounts for non-discretionary funds used for the restoration sub-activity cannot be estimated as they are dependent on NRDAR case consent decrees and court-lodged settlements and can vary widely between fiscal years.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Projects may range from $1,000 to $1,000,000 or greater.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Not Applicable.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices. Please see www.fws.gov to locate Regional and Local Field Office Contacts. For Regional Offices, ask to speak to the Regional NRDAR Coordinator.

Headquarters Office

Chief, Branch of Environmental Response and Restoration U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: ES, Falls Church, Virginia 22041-3803 Phone: (703) 358-2171

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Specific criteria for individual proposals are set by the local and Regional office that is advertising the project opportunity. Criteria are based on the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration case-specific needs.


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