Natural Resource Damages Restoration Projects
Habitat Restoration & Natural Resource Management
Funds acquired from NRD settlements have been and are being used to restore injured habitat and protect various plant and animal species. For example, DEC has used NRD settlements to manage and monitor the endangered Piping Plover on the shores of Long Island, as a partner with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The Piping Plover is a migratory shorebird that nests on Long Island beaches from April through August, and an oil spill had injured the Piping Plover's nesting habitat. Additionally, using NRD settlements obtained from entities responsible for other oil spills, DEC acquired and is in the process of restoring the Bridge Creek salt marsh site on Northwest Staten Island. This restoration involves excavation of channels, removal of invasive plants and replanting with native salt marsh species to improve tidal flow and restore native salt marsh vegetation to the site. Other habitat restoration and natural resource management projects include: scallop transplanting on Fishers Island; Regional Restoration Planning in NYC; and acquisition of public fishing rights in Schoharie County.
Land acquisition to preserve sensitive resources
One way in which DEC and other natural resource trustees can use NRD settlements or awards is to "acquire the equivalent" of the natural resource that was damaged from the release of oil or hazardous substances. DEC has used NRD settlements to acquire and preserve ecologically significant land areas to compensate for injuries to natural resources. Such projects include saltmarsh and associated upland acquisitions in New York City and Central Pine Barrens land on Long Island. A settlement with Northville Industries Corporation for oil spills was used by DEC to acquire unique habitats on Long Island to protect aquifer recharge. It was also used to help capitalize the Central Pine Barrens "Transfer of Development Rights" (TDR) bank. TDR programs on Long Island are a mechanism to protect aquifer recharge, by allowing development rights in environmentally and ecologically significant areas to be transferred to less-sensitive areas.
Sportfishing Restoration for the Lake Ontario System
In June 2006, an NRD settlement of $12 million was reached between New York State and Occidental Chemical Corporation which compensated for the loss of recreational fishing opportunities in Lake Ontario over a 30 year period due to the release of harmful chemicals in the environment. The settlement was used to fund a restoration plan that will implement specific projects to restore and enhance recreational fishing and the fishery itself. After receiving restoration proposals from the public and considering public comment, DEC selected 42 distinct restoration projects: 25 to improve access, 14 to enhance habitat and resources, and 3 to promote fishing in the region. Restoration projects are being implemented in seven counties in northern and western New York. For more information, see the Lake Ontario Sportfishing Restoration Plan page.