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Natural Resource Damage Assessment: Methods and Cases

Natural Resource Damage Assessment: Methods and Cases

Columbia River estuary;

Columbia River estuary; 5 freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes; and freshwater wetlands. (a) Marine and Estuarine Waters: For marine and estuarine environments excluding the Columbia River, spill vulnerability scores (SVS ME ) for three oil effects (acute toxicity, mechanical injury and persistence) are calculated at the time of the spill for the most sensitive sub-region and season affected by the spill. 6 Each SVS ME is determined by summing the vulnerability scores for habitats, marine birds, marine animals, fishery species, and recreational use. For each of 37 habitat types in the state, a score for vulnerability to acute toxicity, mechanical injury and persistence has been developed. Furthermore, each of the marine and estuarine sub-regions are ranked and scored on a one to five scale for each season for vulnerability of marine birds, marine fisheries, shellfish, salmon, mammals, and recreation. For example, the recreation vulnerability score is determined based on seasonal level of participation in recreational activities, number of recreation sites and types of recreational amenities available in a sub region for each of the four seasons. The formula used to calculate the SVS ME for each of the three oil effects is given by Equation 1: SVSi ME = HVSi + BVS + MVS + MFVS + SFVS + SAVS + RVS , where (1) SVSi ME = Spill vulnerability score for oil effect i in a marine or estuarine environment i = Index for effect of oil: i ∈{acute toxicity (AT), mechanical injury (MI), or persistence (PER)} K = Total number of habitats to be considered PCk = Percent coverage 7 of habitat type k hvik = Habitat vulnerability score for habitat type k and oil effect i HVSi = Total habitat vulnerability to oil effect i : K HVSi = ∑ k= ik k PC hv 1 BVS = Marine bird vulnerability score for most sensitive season affected by spill MVS = Marine mammal vulnerability score for most sensitive season affected by spill MFVS = Marine fisheries vulnerability score for most sensitive season affected by spill SFVS = Shellfish vulnerability score for most sensitive season affected by spill SAVS = Salmon vulnerability score for most sensitive season affected by spill RVS = Recreation vulnerability score for most sensitive season affected by spill. The vulnerability scores are increased if species of particular importance are likely to have been affected by the spill. A number of the vulnerability scores (BVS, MVS, SFVS, and SAVS) are increased by a multiplicative factor of 1.5 if any state or federal threatened or endangered species are exposed to the spill. In addition, the habitat vulnerability scores for a particular habitat type is increased by a multiplicative factor of 1.5 if sea grass or kelp is present. 5 The Columbia River estuary has been distinguished from other estuarine waters of the state because it resides within the jurisdiction of two states, Washington and Oregon. 6 There are 16 regions and 131 sub-regions defined for the purposes of this regulation. 7 For very small spills (fewer than 1000 gallons) percent coverage is given by the percentage of each habitat type in the affected subregion(s). For spills of 1000 or more gallons, percent coverage is given by the composition of only those habitats exposed to the spilled oil, requiring more data collection. 30

(b) Columbia River Estuary: Bird, fish, mammal, invertebrate, habitat and human use resource sensitivity have been evaluated for each square kilometer cell in the region of the Columbia River Estuary for each season. These scores range from one to five. The vulnerability score for a particular cell i (VSi) is determined by adding the sensitivity scores assigned to each cell for each of five “uses” during the most sensitive season affected by the spill. where: VSi = BSSi + FSSi + MSSi + ISSi + HSSi + HUSi (2) VSi = vulnerability score for cell i BSS = Bird sensitivity score for most sensitive season affected FSS = Fish sensitivity score for most sensitive season affected MSS = Mammal sensitivity vulnerability score for most sensitive season affected ISS = Invertebrate sensitivity score for most sensitive season affected HSS = Habitat sensitivity score for most sensitive season affected HUS = Human use sensitivity score for most sensitive season affected. If there are N cells exposed to the spill, the overall spill vulnerability score (SVS CR ) is calculated as the average of the vulnerability scores (VSi) for the cells exposed to the spill. SVS CR N ∑ = VSi i = N 1 (3) (c) Freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes: For freshwater surface water bodies, such as streams, rivers, and lakes, spill vulnerability (SVS FW ) is simply determined by multiplying a freshwater vulnerability score (FVS) with a habitat index score (HIS) as: SVS FW = FVS * HIS. (4) The FVS ranges from one to five depending on the type of water, where a score of five is assigned to the most sensitive category and one is assigned to the least sensitive category. “Sensitivity” in this context is, in large part, a function of the importance of the waters to domestic water supplies, recreation, fish or wildlife habitat, or water-quality protection. The HIS is an index representing existing stream conditions prior to the oil spill, and is estimated based on the following habitat quality parameters: barriers to natural fish movement, urbanization, land use of watershed, flow alteration, channel modification, water quality, and condition of riparian vegetation, floodplain, and streambed. The HIS can vary from 0 to 10, with high values associated with freshwater systems that are not highly degraded. (d) Freshwater wetlands: The spill vulnerability of freshwater wetlands (SVS WL ) is set equal to a wetlands-vulnerability score, WVS, according to: SVS WL = WVS. (5) All wetlands are grouped into four categories based on the sensitivity of habitat, plants, 31

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