Selection of damage assessment projects is accomplished on an annual basis through an extensive internal screening process that assures that only the highest priority cases are funded. Priorities for selecting initial projects are based upon a case's likelihood of success in achieving restoration, either through negotiated settlements or through successful litigation where necessary. Cases must demonstrate sufficient technical, legal, and administrative merit focused on the purpose of achieving restoration.
The NRDA Restoration Program's project selection process is designed to:
- Be inclusive of all natural resources under the Department's trusteeship;
- Encourage thorough planning and thereby, enhanced opportunities for restoration success;
- Evaluate both the objective and subjective aspects of individual cases; and
- Fund those cases that have demonstrated sufficient levels of technical and legal merit, trustee organization, and case readiness.
DOI bureaus are also required to coordinate their efforts into a single project proposal, thus promoting inter-Departmental efficiencies and eliminating duplication of effort. Bureau and DOI office capabilities are used to augment and compliment each other, as opposed to building redundant program capabilities in each bureau.