Environmental Contaminants Program
U S Fish and Wildlife Service

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Environmental Quality

Division Chief: Dr. Roger Helm
4401 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 820
Arlington, Virginia 22203

Featured Publications:
Screen shot of Yellowstone River spill fact sheet
"Wildlife Response: Silvertip Pipeline Oil Spill Yellowstone River, Montana" (pdf) July 2011.
thumbnail image of invasive species article from endangered species bulletin
"The Environmental Contaminants Program" (pdf)
from the March 2007 issue of the Endangered Species Bulletin.

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Bi-National Seabird Restoration Effort Launched on the Baja California Pacific Islands

Photo of The Cassin's Auklet sitting on a nest.
Photo Caption: The Cassin's Auklet is one of seventeen species that breed on the islands off the coast of Mexico. Credit: L. Lauber / USFWS
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Montrose and Luckenbach Trustee Councils and the Government of Mexico have announced a $4 million dollar award to a U.S-Mexico partnership that will implement a comprehensive five-year program focused on restoring seabird populations on seven islands off the Pacific coast of Mexico. Improvement of nesting grounds in Mexico will create more stable and viable populations of seabirds in California and the Mexican islands off the Baja California peninsula

News Release

NOAA: Montrose Settlements Restoration Program

Workshop – Joining the National Discussion on Nutrient Problems

Photo of hydrologist, Josh Eash, writing information on a white board while other scientists look on.
Hydrologist Josh Eash from the Region 3 Regional Office lists ideas from Contaminants Biologists Dave Mosby and Scott Hamilton from the Columbia, MO Ecological Services Field Office for resource management tools and actions to mitigate nutrient pollution in the Midwest. Credit: Mike Coffey/USFWS
Thursday, September 29, 2011

Managers and specialists from the National Wildlife Refuge System, Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Endangered Species Program, and the Environmental Contaminants Program met in Illinois to discuss nutrient enrichment problems and solutions for trust natural resources.

 Learn More

$36.8 Million Natural Resource Damages Settlement to Restore Natural Resources and Improve Recreational Opportunities in Areas Affected by Cosco Busan Oil Spill

San Francisco - Oil booms line a San Francisco, California, beach. November 9, 2007. The beach was closed after oil spilled when acontainer ship struck a tower supporting the San Francsico-Oakland Bay Bridge. Credit: Desmond Thorsson/U.S. Coast Guard Auxillary.
September 19, 2011

State and federal trustee agencies will use most of the funds from a $36.8 million settlement of natural resource damages to restore natural resources injured by the Nov. 7, 2007 oil spill in the San Francisco Bay and improve Bay Area recreational opportunities impacted by the spill. The funds are part of a $44.4 million settlement with Regal Stone Limited and Fleet Management Limited, the companies responsible for the container ship Cosco Busan that spilled 53,000 gallons of oil into the bay after hitting the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

More information

SF Gate — $44 million settles Cosco Busan oil spill in bay

KQED (NPR) audio segment on Cosco Busan settlement

Federal funds will continue restoring Massachusetts harbor

Heavily-oiled Canada geese. USFWS photo
Roseate terns nest in shelters on Bird Island in Buzzards Bay. Credit: Susi von Oettingen/USFWS
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

About $6.5 million from a natural resource damage settlement will fund six projects in New Bedford, Mass. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently announced the selection of projects that include creating a public river walk, protecting Acushnet land, monitoring roseate and common terns in Buzzards Bay, and restoring Palmer’s Island, the former Acushnet sawmill property and the Round Hill salt marsh in Dartmouth. The funds represent the last installment from the $20-million settlement reached in 1991 for the discharge of wastes into the harbor from the 1940s to the 1970s.

South Coast Today — New Bedford gets its share of harbor money

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region

Idaho Settlement Resolves One of the Largest Superfund Cases Ever Filed

Heavily-oiled Canada geese. USFWS photo
1993 Photo of the Bunker HIll Superfund Site in the Coeur d'Alene Basin. The majority of the settlement funds will be dedicated to restoration and remediation at Bunker Hill. Photo credit: USFWS/Dan Audet
Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A settlement has been reached with Hecla Mining Company to resolve one of the largest cases ever filed under the Superfund statute.  Under the settlement, Hecla will pay $263.4 million plus interest to the United States, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and the state of Idaho to resolve claims stemming from releases of wastes from its mining operations.

The settlement brings in new funding for important cleanup to restore critical fish and wildlife habitat in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin. Although many measurable improvements in people’s and environmental health have taken place over the years, the contamination is widespread and much more cleanup is needed. The settlement also includes a process for coordinating Hecla’s future mining operations with cleanup activities in the Coeur d’Alene Basin. Cleanup and mining can now move forward together in the Silver Valley. This will help establish a stronger future: one built on mining stewardship, a healthier environment, and a growing, vibrant economy.

Learn more in this full press release

The consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court.  A copy of the consent decree is available on the Justice Department Web site at www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html

NRDA Trustees Announce $1 Billion Agreement to Fund Early Gulf Coast Restoration Projects

Heavily-oiled Canada geese. USFWS photo
Coastal marshes, like these in Louisiana, could be restored with this funding.. Photo: NOAA
Monday, May 2, 2011

Under an unprecedented agreement, BP has agreed to provide $1 billion toward early restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico. This is the largest agreement of its kind ever reached. These projects will begin to address impacts to natural resources caused by the Deepwater BP oil spill.

Early restoration is restoration that can beimplemented prior to the completion of the natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) process to achieve restoration faster. So, this agreement can be seen as BP’s down payment toward the yet-to-be determined full cost of the damage to the Gulf Coast.

The agreement does not affect the ultimate liability from the spill for BP (and the other responsible parties) but provides an opportunity to help restoration get started sooner. This money will put people to work restoring the Gulf without having to wait for the results of the NRDA and pending litigation.

Restoration also will address the lost use of natural resources by the people living, working, and visiting the area. Project selection will follow a transparent process, overseen by the trustees.

Types of restoration that could be funded include:
  • rebuilding of coastal marshes,
  • replenishment of damaged beaches,
  • conservation of sensitive areas for ocean habitat for impacted wildlife, and
  • restoration of barrier islands and wetlands that provide natural protection from storms.

BP will continue to fund the NRDA and, together with the other responsible parties, ultimately will compensate the public for all the impacts from the spill.

Learn more in this press release issued by the trustees or read the full text of the agreement (pdf). You can also read the allocation agreement to see how the funds will be distributed to each of the trustees.


Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Cases in Northeast Highlighted

Image of marsh before restoration. USFWS photo. Image of marsh after restoration. USFWS photo.

Photos before and after restoration along Delaware's Mispillion River. A cooperative settlement in the Dupont Newport Superfund site NRDAR case funded the use of natural materials to protect more than 2,000 feet of eroding shoreline. Credit: USFWS

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Northeast Region is commemorating the Deepwater Horizon oil spill anniversary by highlighting restoration on contaminated sites across 13 states through an interactive map featured on the new regional Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program (NRDAR) website.

MAP of Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Recovery Cases - Northeast Region

Northeast Region NRDAR website


Deepwater Horizon Response Information Available on Data.Gov

Screenshot showing types of data available, including raw data, geospatial data and others.

Friday, March18, 2011

In response to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Data.gov is featuring data from the Department of Energy (DOE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of the Interior (DOI), and the states of Florida and Louisiana related to the spill, its effects, and the cleanup effort. Data include oil and gas flow and recovery measurements, air and water sample data, oil spill-related exposure information, and other data of interest to scientists, recovery workers, and citizens.

Deepwater Horizon Response data on Data.Gov


Contaminants Program Sparks Conversation with Facebook Page

Environmental Quality profile picture of brown pelican flying over marshland.

December 15, 2010

The USFWS, lead by the Environmental Contaminants Program, is the main federal agency dedicated to protecting wildlife and their habitat from pollution's harmful effects, helping to create a healthy world for all living things.

Follow our efforts to protect our treasured wildlife on the new Environmental Quality Facebook page.

Recent News and Activities
Presentations from the Hudson River NRDA at the November 2011 SETAC meeting
Deepwater Horizon Trustees Call for Public Input on Early Restoration Plan
Hudson River: Organochlorine Contaminants in Tree Swallow Nestlings
Hudson River: Congener-Specific Analysis of PCB Residues in Tree Swallows
Service Lists the Altamaha Spinymussel as an Endangered
Workshop - Joining the National Discussion on Nutrient Problems
$37 Million to Restore Natural Resources Affected by Cosco Busan Oil Spill
Hudson River Trustees Release Report for PCB Dosing Solutions for Avian Egg

Fish Consumption Advisories
Smarxt Disposal logo.

Archived Feature Stories

Last Updated: December 13, 2011