Natural Resource Damage Assessment

pondNatural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) is a legal and technical process under state and federal laws to determine the type and amount of restoration needed to compensate the public for harm to natural resources that occur as a result of an unauthorized release of hazardous substances or oil. The goal of the NRDA is to make the public whole by restoring injured natural resources and compensating the public for lost recreational use of the resources. You can view examples of completed projects in our Restoration Story Map.

After an oil spill or hazardous substance release, response agencies conduct cleanup operations in order to eliminate or reduce risks to human health and the environment. But these efforts may not fully restore injured natural resources or address their lost uses to the public. The Oil Pollution Act (OPA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (also referred to as CERCLA or Superfund) protect the environment from oil spills and hazardous substance releases. Both laws require responsible parties to clean up the environment (which is overseen by the lead cleanup agency) and address injury to natural resources (which is overseen by trustees). Trustees also protect natural resources by providing input during the cleanup response to minimize damage to resources.

Federal and state agencies (and Indian Tribes) are designated by the President and state governors to be trustees of natural resources for the public under Superfund and OPA.  TPWD was designated by the Governor of Texas as a trustee under Superfund and OPA in 1990, consistent with TPWD's resource protection responsibility as the state's primary fish and wildlife agency under Chapter 12 of the Parks and Wildlife Code. The TPWD NRDA team provides expertise to assess and restore natural resources injured by releases of oil and hazardous substances. TPWD encourages responsible parties to participate in cooperative damage assessment and restoration planning activities. This offers industry a practical and cost-effective way to resolve liability.

The NRDA team at TPWD also participate in the Ecological Risk Assessment process under the TCEQ Texas Risk Reduction Program for the cleanup of waste sites to ensure that cleanup goals are protective of fish and wildlife resources.

NRDA Team Contact Information:
Austin (512) 389-8165