When an environmental crisis or injury occurs and damage is done to natural resources, effective management is an absolute necessity to mitigate the damage done to the environment. In certain instances where damage has been done to natural resources, there may be little question regarding the origin of the contamination. The main question will focus on the scope of the damage that has occurred.
Through a formal process known as a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), intensive expert witness work is undertaken to identify and qualify the injuries to the natural resources impacted by a spill or discharge and then to translate those injuries into an economic damage or an equivalent resource or habitat. This process can be extraordinarily complex, as the NRDA typically must account for the various resources' baseline -- their condition prior to the discharge. Because industrial and residential development and use of natural resources substantially complicates the determination of baseline, the status of the affected environment prior to the release of a hazardous substance can be very difficult to ascertain.
At Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC, we have decades of experience in helping both the government and members of the private sector create an accurate assessment of natural resource damages. Investigations can proceed cooperatively between the parties, or we can work to provide an independent assessment for any party. Our firm has a national reputation for finding the answers to the complicated questions that arise following an event where damage is done to natural resources. For example, Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC was hired by the State of Louisiana Governor's Office and the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator's Office to assist with the natural resource damage assessment resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico and to assess and quantify the economic and loss of use damages suffered by the State of Louisiana as a result of the spill.