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Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDA)

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Natural resource damages are monetary payments for injury to, destruction of, or loss of natural or cultural resources,and the value of the lost services provided by those resources. Recovery includes the reasonable costs of assessing their injury, destruction, or loss. The goal of damage assessment is restoration of injured resources and services to prespill conditions. Often these assessment costs are assessed by the federal government under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), or the Clean Water Act. The State of Alaska can also assess for damages separately or jointly from the Federal government for damages to state lands or waters and natural resources from spilled oil or other hazardous substances.

Natural resource damages can be assessed under Alaska statutes, 46.03.760, 46.03.780, and 46.03.822.

The Governor of the State of Alaska has designated the Commissioners of the Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Fish and Game and the Attorney General as Natural Resource Trustees pursuant to CERCLA and OPA90.

DNR as a State Trustee of Natural Resources participates in natural resource damage assessments and restoration of coastal and land resources injured as a result of oil spills, releases of hazardous materials, and ship groundings.

When deciding whether to pursue damage assessment be sure to consider the legal implications of state and federal damage assessment and restoration processes as well as procedures, processes and protocols used by other organizations such as NOAA. The State of Alaska Trustee Agencies, ADEC, ADF&G, ADOL, and ADNR have formed a Damage Assessment Working Group which has worked to establish criteria for initiating a State Damage Assessment.


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