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In mid-January, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced an effort to update natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) methods applied to hazardous substance releases under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The revised procedures would allow, in some circumstances, the use of streamlined methods and assessment tools developed largely under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) to cooperatively assess damages.


SWCA’s Comment on What You Should Know

The tools identified by DOI, including Habitat Equivalency Analysis and Resource Equivalency Analysis, along with the cooperative approach to assessment, are familiar NRDA approaches. As SWCA’s NRDA team describes in our recent publication for the American Petroleum Institute, Evaluation and Comparison of Habitat and Resource Equivalency Analysis (API 2022), these methods can be used to resolve cases efficiently and fairly, provided they are applied with sufficient technical rigor to assure the public that the NRDA process has identified an appropriate type and amount of restoration.


Share Your Thoughts

The Office of Restoration and Damage Assessment (ORDA) seeks comments and suggestions from the public by March 20, 2023. Submit your comments electronically through the Federal Register Portal at:


SWCA Can Help

SWCA’s team of biologists, ecologists, toxicologists, and economists has been working together for more than 20 years to help responsible parties (RPs) and potentially responsible parties (PRPs) resolve natural resource damage claims under both OPA and CERCLA.

Contact SWCA’s team of NRDA experts for help understanding how the revised procedures could affect you or your business and for support navigating the DOI’s final decisions regarding changes to the CERCLA NRDA regulations. 

Jeff [dot] Wakefield [at] swca [dot] com (Jeff Wakefield) | Natural Resources Technical Director

chris [dot] pfeifer [at] swca [dot] com (Chris Pfeifer) | Senior Project Manager

Angie [dot] Morrow [at] swca [dot] com (Angie Morrow) | Senior Project Manager

heath [dot] byrd [at] swca [dot] com (Heath Byrd) | Lead Environmental Scientist