Natural Resource Damage Assessment

When an oil spill occurs, natural resources (like fish, birds, and marshes) may be injured. A natural resource damage assessment (or “NRDA”) is focused on figuring out what those injuries are and then fixing them. This includes compensating the public for not being able to use the resources while they are injured (e.g. no recreational fishing or beach access). Here, the process is being overseen by federal and state government representatives (called “trustees”), which you can view here.

How much money is involved?

BP will pay up to $8.8 billion in natural resource damages. This includes:

NRDA settlement

As noted in the chart, the up to $8.8 billion in natural resource damages includes early restoration monies. Back in 2011, BP agreed to provide up to $1 billion to start some restoration projects early (i.e. before the NRDA was complete). Roughly $870 million has been committed to early restoration projects, which leaves only about $130 million of these monies. You can find more details about early restoration projects in our Restoration Projects Database.

How will the money be spent?

The trustees have allocated the natural resource damages among five different restoration goals (which are further divided into 13 restoration types), across eight different restoration areas.


The bulk of the funding has been allocated to the “Restore and Conserve Habitat” goal, with most of that money going to projects in Louisiana. Also of note, about 4.8% of funding is going to the “Provide and Enhance Recreational Opportunities” goal. Since approximately one-third of allocated early restoration funds went here (~$287 million), less than 2% of remaining funds will be spent on projects under this goal.

How can I participate?

There are both informal and formal opportunities for the public to participate. Some opportunities include:

  • Suggest ideas for restoration projects (e.g. using the trustees’ project submission portal);

  • Comment on draft restoration plans;

  • Provide feedback and suggestions at meetings hosted by the trustees.


For more details about the NRDA process and public involvement:

NRDA Participation ImageNRDA in Action Image


Early Restoration Image

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