Natural Resource Damages Program
When our natural resources are injured or destroyed, our quality of life, environment and economy suffer. That is why the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has dedicated its mission to protect our air, land and water; preserve our unique natural and historic places; and provide recreational and learning opportunities for everyone.
Our rivers, lakes, prairies and the aquatic life swimming in those waters; the air we breathe; the deer and other wildlife thriving in the woods; the water we drink; and those beautiful wildflowers are the natural resources that we cherish. If these resources are affected by a release of oil or a hazardous waste substance, the department looks for ways to fix that damage.
About the Natural Resource Damages Program
In 1998, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources established a Natural Resource Damages program. The director of the department is designated by the governor as the state natural resource trustee. In addition to state trustees, there are five federal trustees including the secretaries of the departments of Defense, Energy, Commerce, Interior and Agriculture. American Indian tribes are also designated trustees, but there are no state or federally recognized tribes within Missouri.
The core philosophy encompassing natural resource damages is that a state’s public lands, waters and living resources are held in “trust” for the benefit of the citizens of the state. Citizens have the right to use and enjoy natural resources and as a natural resource trustee, the department has the duty and responsibility to protect these resources. Natural resource trustees are tasked with determining the type and extent of injuries to natural resources and with restoring injured natural resources for public use.
There are several approaches to assessing and restoring injured natural resources. One approach is the cooperative-based restoration approach. This approach focuses on restoration with the trustees and responsible parties working together through cooperative assessment agreements. A second approach is settlement negotiations. Settlements should include the cost of restoring the natural resources; the cost of the lost use of the resources; and the cost incurred by the trustees to assess the injuries. If a settlement cannot be reached, the trustees can conduct a formal Natural Resource Damages assessment and proceed with litigation. Learn more about specific areas of the state with natural resource damages.
Southeast Missouri Natural Resource Damages
Southwest Missouri Natural Resources Damages
Missouri State Groundwater Restoration Plan
Natural Resource Damages Agreements and Quality Assurance
- Statewide Memorandum of Understanding
- Memorandum of Agreement Between the Department and Department of Conservation
- Designation of lead administrative trustee for the Southeast Missouri Lead Mining District
- Tri-State Mining District Partnership Agreement
- Quality Assurance Project Plan for Natural Resources Damages