Trustees Responsibilities during Response

Prior to a spill or response, NRDAR trustees need to be prepared.

Natural resource trustee preparedness responsibilities include:

  • Identify natural resources at risk prior to a spill or release
  • Assemble available baseline information
  • Contribute to resources at risk in area contingency plans
  • Be aware of area restoration plans
  • Identify the natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) team
  • Develop who will provide support services, such as analytical, aircraft services, and wildlife necropsy facilities
  • Identify wildlife rehabilitation facilities
  • Develop an ephemeral data collection plan to include:
    • Coordinating sampling protocols
    • Preparing field kits for sample collection and measurement
  • Obtain the proper training such as:
    • Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) training
    • Incident Command System training
    • Shoreline Countermeasure/Cleanup Assessment Team (SCAT) training
    • Aircraft safety training

Natural resource trustee response responsibilities:

During a spill or release, the responders are attempting to control, contain, and cleanup what is spilled or released. NRDAR trustees have a different goal and NRDAR activities should never interfere with the response. NRDAR responsibilities include the following:

  • Take a sample of the source product to confirm the release is the source of the product found in the environment, and for possible toxicological testing
  • Take water and sediment samples from areas not yet covered with a spilled or released product, but likely to be covered with the spilled or released product (reference/baseline conditions), and sensitive areas (e.g. sea grass and oyster beds)
  • Take biota (e.g. bivalves) samples from areas likely to be covered with the spilled or released product to document pre-spill or release conditions
  • Record wildlife and human use observations/photo documentation of the general spill or release area
  • Take water samples under a spill or release (such as an oil slick) to obtain information on the concentration of the selected product spilled or released in the water column

The below graph illustrates the timing of different activities conducted by the responders and the NRDAR trustees during a spill or release.


Source: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Lessons Learned Workshop: Nontraditional Response and Emergency Restoration Projects Hosted by the Department of the Interior, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance May 17-19, 2011.

Cooperation and communication between the responders, the responsible party and the NRDAR trustees is key to working together successfully.

How NRDAR Differs from Remedial Actions under CERCLA

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