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Natural Resource Damage Assessment: Methods and Cases

Natural Resource Damage Assessment: Methods and Cases

for settlement purposes.

for settlement purposes. http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/water/wm/lowerfox/sediment/jsa_final_offset_report_111 300.pdf . Desvousges, William, Douglas MacNair, and Ginger Smith. Lower Fox River and Bay of Green Bay: Assessment of Potential Recreational Fishing Losses and Restoration Offsets. Prepared for Fort James Corporation, for settlement purposes. http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/water/wm/lowerfox/sediment/ter_final_offset_report_111 500.pdf. Stratus Consulting. 1999. PCB Pathway Determination for the Lower Fox River / Green Bay Natural Resources Damage Assessment. http://www.stratusconsulting.com/Staff/PDFs/pathway.pdf. U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Consent Decree for State of Wisconsin v. Fort James Operating Company and Fort James Corporation. http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/water/wm/lowerfox/sediment/nrd_cd_final.pdf. U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1997. U.S. EPA’s Superfund Role: Lower Fox River Cleanup. http://www.epa.gov/region5/pdf/lowerfox.pdf . Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 2000. Summary of Basis of Natural Resources Damages Settlement Among State of Wisconsin and Fort James Corporation. http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/water/wm/lowerfox/sediment/summary_nrd_settlement_fi nal.pdf. 95

C. Lake Barre/Texaco Site: The site is Lake Barre, Louisiana, part of the Barataria – Terrebonne estuary system on the Gulf Coast, south and slightly west of New Orleans. The lake averages a depth of about two meters and consists mostly of salt marsh. Many species of plants and animals inhabit the lake and the adjacent marshes, including several listed as endangered or threatened, such as the bald eagle. The area is an important site for both commercial and recreational fishing, hunting and trapping, and of wildlife viewing and other forms of tourism. Release: A sixteen-inch crude oil pipeline operated by Texaco Pipeline, Inc. ruptured in Lake Barre and dispersed oil over the surface of the lake and onto the surrounding marshland. An estimated 4,165 acres of vegetated marsh were lightly oiled, and 162 acres of vegetated marsh were heavily oiled. Injury: Crude oil dispersed over the surface of the lake and onto the surrounding marshland. In small areas of the affected marsh acreage, oil collected in “streamers”, resulting in the death of all above ground biomass. Across most of the affected marshland the damage was less dramatic. Two oiled birds were found dead, along with some brown shrimp. Other oiled birds were observed alive. Small numbers of dead fish, brown shrimp, and blue craps were recovered in the cleanup process. Commercial oyster harvesting in Lake Barre was halted for 74 days. The cleanup operations prevented recreational access to the affected area for a few days. The oil caused increased stress to plants, which lowered their productivity and resulted in a partial loss of the services provided by the marsh land. Attachment of Liability: NRDs are permitted under OPA because there was a nonexempt “discharge” of oil on the navigable waters or adjoining shorelines of the United States covered by OPA. Trustees: • The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service • Several agencies of the State of Louisiana Potentially Responsible Parties: Texaco Pipeline, Inc., the entity responsible for the discharge. Damages: Pursuant to OPA, Texaco was invited to join in the damage assessment process and participated throughout. To calculate the amount of marsh restoration that would compensate the public for the damage caused by the spill, the trustees and Texaco each calculated the amount of aquatic animal and bird life destroyed, and translated the total loss of life into an equivalent in marsh acre-years. The trustees and Texaco cooperated to calculate the amount of marsh acreage affected by the oil, 96

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