Port Angeles Harbor Natural Resource Damage Assessment
A Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) is designed to restore natural resources in an area harmed by hazardous materials. It is a formal legal process run by a Trustee Council that includes representatives of tribes and federal and state agencies.
Through a science-based consensus process, the Trustees assess the impacts of contamination. Then, the Trustees design and adopt a restoration plan. The projects within the restoration plan compensate the public for the lost natural resources due to impacts from contamination. Port Angeles Harbor is one of many NRDA cases across the country.
How NRDA works
The NRDA process uses scientific methods to evaluate impacts to natural resources from releases of oil and other hazardous substances. It also determines what activities will:
- Restore, replace, or acquire the equivalent of the natural resources injured.
- Compensate the public for the loss of the injured natural resources.
Compensation can be in the form of restoration projects performed by parties responsible for the natural resource injuries. Responsible parties can also pay monetary damages to the Trustees to be used for restoration projects.
Governmental bodies that hold natural resources in trust for the public, also known as natural resource Trustees, can conduct a NRDA. Federal laws, such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), and the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), and other state laws, such as the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA), authorize Trustees to perform a NRDA.
A Trustee Council guides the process
In 2012, federal, state, and tribal entities with natural resource trust authority within Port Angeles Harbor formed the Port Angeles Harbor Trustee Council. The Port Angeles Harbor Natural Resource Trustees are:
- Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe
- Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
- Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service
- WA State Department of Ecology
The Trustee Council Memorandum of Agreement describes the procedures governing the Trustee Council.