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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection-Office of Natural Resource Restoration
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Natural Resource RestorationAbout NRR

Program Overview

Natural Resource Restoration

Restoration: The remedial action that returns the natural resources to pre–discharge conditions. It includes the rehabilitation of injured resources, replacement, or acquisition or preservation of natural resources and their services which were lost or impaired. Restoration also includes compensation for the natural resources and their loss of use from the beginning of the injury to the full recovery of the resource.

Examples are:

  • GROUND WATER: non–point source pollution abatement projects, acquisition of land for aquifer recharge
  • WETLANDS and HABITAT: rehabilitation or creation of wetlands / habitat in the appropriate ratios to compensate for the functions and services lost
  • INJURED SPECIES: restoration of appropriate habitat and monitoring of success / research projects
  • LOST PUBLIC USE: enhanced public access, information and interpretive centers

Program Administration

The Office of Natural Resource Restoration (ONRR) was established in the early 1990s to restore environmental injury caused by oil spills and other hazardous discharges.  ONRR’s mission is to assess and restore injured natural resources and the services they provide to the condition that would have existed absent the release of contamination.

ONRR works with the Site Remediation Program and Licensed site remediation specialists to assess injury to natural resources caused by the release of hazardous substances or oil and then seeks compensation from potentially responsible parties for restoration of those injured resources.  Compensation is used to restore, replace, or acquire the equivalent of injured, destroyed or lost natural resources and the services they provide.  ONRR serves as technical and litigation support to the New Jersey Attorney General’s office in pursuing natural resource damage claims and restoration settlements.

ONRR may coordinate/partner with federal trustees and other NJDEP programs such as the Green Acres program, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Division of Parks and Forestry, 319 program and environmental organizations for restoration projects. 

Overall natural resource restoration process

When contaminants, such as oil and other hazardous substances are released into the environment, wildlife habitat and other public natural resources may be injured or lost. The following steps outline the restoration process:

  • ONRR ensures that natural resource injuries resulting from a pollutant discharge are appropriately characterized.
  • Using information generated pursuant to the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation and other investigation documents, ONRR coordinates with those responsible for the injuries to ensure that an appropriate restoration project is implemented to compensate the public for the loss and enjoyment of the natural resource.
  • ONRR may coordinate restoration with federal trustees and a variety of NJDEP programs, such as the Site Remediation Program, Division of Fish &Wildlife, Green Acres Program and Division of Parks and Forestry. ONRR also has restoration partnerships with environmental organizations, and solicits input from environmental and local government and community groups with special resource expertise and knowledge of the restoration area.
  • ONRR brings together the necessary scientific and legal expertise within the state to pursue natural resource restoration. In this capacity, the Office serves as technical and litigation support to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office in pursuing natural resource damage claims and restoration settlements.

 

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Last Updated: July 17, 2020