Restoration Program - Narragansett Laboratory
The NMFS’ Office of Habitat Conservation (OHC) has regional staff from its Restoration Center (RC) strategically located at the Narragansett Lab to address fishery habitat issues in Southern New England and collaborate with other RC regional and headquarters staff and other federal and state agencies, municipalities and local organizations. The RC-Narragansett Lab staff is responsible for addressing priority projects including diadromous fish (such as river herring and American eel) passage such as dam removals, and salt marsh, shellfish and other types of coastal habitat restoration projects throughout Narragansett Bay, Long Island Sound, and Buzzards Bay and their watersheds. The states and areas currently covered by RC-Narragansett Lab staff include Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York (Long Island, north shore, and New York City), Massachusetts (southeastern and western Massachusetts), New Hampshire (Connecticut River watershed), and Vermont (Connecticut River watershed). See OHC’s web page at: http://habitat.noaa.gov/restoration/ and information on our Northeast Region: http://habitat.noaa.gov/restoration/regional/northeast.html.
The RC carries out its habitat restoration mission through two primary NOAA programs – the Community-Based Restoration Program (CRP) and the Damage Assessment, Remediation and Restoration Program (DARRP). CRP projects are typically funded through NMFS annual federal funding opportunities (FFOs) for which local, state and regional governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can submit technical proposals to a competitive grants program to secure funds for various project phases from planning and assessment to construction and post-implementation performance. See http://www.habitat.noaa.gov/funding/ for a list of current NMFS FFOs.
Legal settlements addressing natural resource damage assessments (NRDAs) and injuries from oil spills through the federal Oil Pollution Act (OPA) and other contaminant releases through the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, or more commonly known as “Superfund”) of 1980 result in funds available for habitat restoration. NOAA is often a federal Trustee involved in NRDA cases and settlements through these federal statutes and the DARRP, along with the U.S. Department of Interior, state agencies, and federally-recognized tribes often as co-trustees. NOAA and its co-trustees conduct cooperative natural resources and resource use injury assessments and restoration scaling to reach settlement with Responsible Parties (RPs) for a contaminant release. Once restoration funds are secured through settlement, NOAA and co-trustees are then responsible for preparing a Restoration Plan (RP) and Environmental Assessment (EA) and releasing the Draft RP/EA to the public for review and comment. Public comments are then thoroughly considered by NOAA and co-trustees in completing and releasing a Final RP/EA for the targeted damage settlement, with the document discussing the restoration activities slected for implementation. Examples of Northeast DARRP cases include: the 1996 barge North Cape oil spill in Rhode Island, the New Bedford Harbor PCB contamination and 2003 barge B-120 Buzzards Bay oil spill in Massachusetts, and Lordship Pt and Raymark Industries contaminant releases in Connecticut. Details on Northeast DARRP cases and settlements can be found at: http://www.darrp.noaa.gov/northeast/.
For more information about the Restoration Center, please contact Jim Turek at 401-782-3338 or James.G.Turek@noaa.gov.