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MA6 NRDA: Injuries, Pathway, and Restoration
(060) The Use of Preventative Projects as Compensatory Restoration.
Chapman, D.1, Julius, B.1, 1 N.O.A.A. Damage Assessment Center, Silver Spring, MD, USA
ABSTRACT- Natural resource trustee agencies are responsible for making the public and the environment whole for incidents that cause injury to natural resources and services. Typically, this objective is accomplished in two ways. First, the trustees work to restore the injured resources/services to the condition they would have been in but for the incident. Second, they implement restoration projects to compensate for the interim losses that occur while the injured resources/services are returning to their baseline condition. In most instances compensatory restoration projects take the form of projects to create or enhance habitat, or provide additional resources by increasing productivity or survivability of organisms such as birds or fish. Despite the fact that trustees have had numerous successes with this approach to restoration planning, it has two potentially significant drawbacks. First, as more natural resource damage assessments are successfully resolved and restoration implemented, finding suitable habitat restoration projects may become increasingly difficult, emphasizing the need for an expanded suite of feasible restoration alternatives. Second, even the most well-conceived and well-implemented restoration projects have some likelihood of failure, and even when successful may not provide the same level of services per unit as natural habitats. Because of these factors, projects that serve to prevent resource and service losses may be preferable to those aimed at restoring resource injuries. In the past, trustees have often failed to include preventative projects in their restoration planning efforts, due to the challenges in quantifying the specific benefits of these types of projects, and in determining the appropriate project scale necessary to compensate the public and the environment. In this paper, the authors will discuss methods for quantifying preventative benefits and for scaling these types of projects. Examples from past NRDA cases will be used to illustrate this approach. The authors will present a framework for defensible incorporation of preventative projects into trustee restoration plans, and finally will discuss the caveats associated with selecting and scaling these types of projects.
Key words: restoration, nrda, scaling
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