Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration

Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) is the legal process used to evaluate the impacts of spills on natural resources and the public. Our experience ranges from oil spill projects in California to mining-related impacts in the western US and includes PCB sites throughout the Midwest and Northeast, as well as a number of other chemical sites along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts.

Our NRDA expertise ranges from designing and implementing original recreational surveys to estimate recreational losses to scoping-level assessments of potential recreational losses based on existing public data. Our experience also includes identifying compensatory restoration efforts that will offset recreational and ecological losses. We have developed several habitat equivalency analyses (HEAs) for clients faced with potential ecological services losses. We have also participated in projects where the Trustees use formulas to compute groundwater damages.

Example NRDAR Projects

Veritas has been involved in dozens of NRDAR evaluations. A limited sample of example projects are below.

Dan River

Served as technical consultant for Duke Energy and State and Federal Trustees to develop the damage estimates and benefits of restoration for the ecological and human-use components of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration evaluation for the Dan River coal ash spill.  Developed technical components of the damage assessment workplan, developed Habitat Equivalency Analysis model to estimate the ecological damages from the coal ash spill and ecological benefits from alternative restoration projects, and developed recreation demand model to estimate the human-use damages from the spill and the benefits of human-use restoration projects.

Passaic River

Veritas staff have participated in numerous efforts for both the Passaic River NRDA and risk assessment. This includes the Passaic River Cooperative NRDA; the 2000 NJ Outdoor Recreation Survey; the 2011-2102 and 2000–01 Passaic River Creel Angler Surveys; and co-authoring A Common Tragedy: History of an Urban River. The results of these efforts supported the development of numerous publications (see Bingham et al., 2011; Kinnell et al., 2007; Ray et al., 2007a; Ray et al.. 2007b; Kinnell et al., 2006; Finley et al., 2003; and Iannuzzi et al., 2002).

Cosco Busan

In November of 2007 the Cosco Busan container ship hit the San Francisco Bay Bridge on the morning of November 7, 2007. The impact punctured the ship’s hull and released over 50,000 gallons of fuel oil. The oil spread to other parts of the Bay and coast impacting wildlife and recreation. Economists from Veritas evaluated recreation losses resulting from the spill.

Currently Active Confidential Projects

Natural Resource Damage Assessments often result in litigation and are usually confidential while they are underway. Below are some of our currently active projects.

  • Confidential Western Mine Site—Currently working on NRDA issues associated with hazardous substance releases from a mine in a Western river and lake system.  
  • Confidential Southeastern River and Lake Site—Currently working on NRDA issues associated with hazardous substances at a Southeastern River and Lake site.  
  • Confidential Western River and Lake Site–Currently working on NRDA and RI/FS issues associated with hazardous substance releases in a Western river and lake system.
  • Confidential Northeast River and Bay Site—Currently working on NRDA issues associated with hazardous substances at a Northeastern River and Bay site.
  • Confidential River Site—Veritas evaluated the potential benefits associated with maintaining the ecological services associated with a 143-acre, undeveloped property that surrounds approximately ½ mile of river. Veritas collected and reviewed data regarding the relative scarcity of available land, planned development, and corresponding ecological services in the property’s relevant vicinity. Veritas used this information to evaluate the potential value of maintaining the property’s ecological services and identified the reliability concerns that need to be considered and addressed to support the validity of their use.