In the initial phase, trustees conduct a review to determine if a formal damage assessment will likely show that natural resources have been affected by the release of hazardous substances.
The second phase has two primary components — planning and implementation. First, the trustees must write a plan, or series of plans, to ensure that the assessment of damages is well-planned and systematic and that it can be done at a reasonable cost. U.S. Dept. of the Interior regulations require trustees to make assessment plan documents available for public review and comment.
During the last phase, the trustees prepare a report documenting all aspects of the assessment process and make a formal claim for damages from those potentially responsible. Upon settlement of the claim or the awarding of damages, this phase concludes by preparing and implementing a restoration plan in order to restore affected natural resources to their baseline condition and compensate the public for the interim loss of services derived from those resources.