The NRDA process begins with spill response. At the time of a spill, our unique combination of technical expertise, from pre-planning through restoration, gives our clients the elements needed to make critical operational decisions in the context of NRDA and restoration concerns. The need for providing scientific support in planning, response, and environmental assessment on behalf of the responsible party has been increasingly recognized by our clients, who include Protection and Indemnity Clubs (P&I), vessel owners and managers, spill response organizations, and oil exploration, production and transport companies.
Implementation of scientific support during an oil spill response also provides the client with a critical head start to Natural Resource Damage Assessment. POLARIS personnel have extensive experience in addressing the scientific issues surrounding effective countermeasures and cleanup, habitat prioritization and protection, shoreline assessment and identification of appropriate cleanup techniques, as well as third-party claims for affected fisheries, private properties, tour operators, pleasure boats, beaches, and other tourist attractions.
Natural resource injuries that remain following response and cleanup actions are subject to damage assessment and compensation claims from trustees. Current federal and state statutes and regulations provide authority to natural resource trustees to recover damages resulting from injuries to natural resources, which may include restoration of injured resources. A natural resource damage assessment process, involving scientific, economic and legal disciplines, is typically initiated by state and/or federal trustees of the environment and incorporates technical studies to quantify natural resource injuries and scale restoration actions. Responsible parties for oil spill incidents can participate in technical studies or conduct independent studies in defense of responsible parties. While POLARIS provides services for a broad spectrum of technical studies required by our clients, we often identify the scope of work, a qualified contractor, and provide oversight for the client.
POLARIS personnel have provided scientific representation for damage claims ranging from simple to highly complex that require several years to settle. These natural resource damage claims have been based in marine, estuarine, freshwater and terrestrial environments and have included natural resources such as fisheries, birds, marine mammals, wetlands, coral reefs, aquatic and terrestrial vegetation, sand dunes, water, sediment, invertebrates, recreational use, and threatened and endangered species.