DOI can provide information concerning the lands and resources specifically under DOI jurisdiction, as well as offer technical expertise related to geology, hydrology, minerals, fish and wildlife, cultural resources, and recreation resources. Under Executive Order 12580, DOI is designated by the NCP as a Federal Trustee for Natural Resources.
DOI has direct jurisdiction for protection of resources on its own lands, as well as trustee responsibilities for certain natural resources, regardless of location. The DOI natural resource trusteeship that extends beyond DOI site boundaries includes migratory birds, anadromous fish, and endangered/threatened species and their critical habitat.
Bureaus may provide assistance in investigations to evaluate the magnitude and severity of discharges on or affecting facilities or resources under their jurisdiction and may conduct activities as natural resource trustees as set forth in Subpart G of the NCP.
Bureaus may also provide:
- advice to the OSC/RPM when response operations are being performed that affect land, facilities, or natural resources under their management authority
- technical assistance in disposal activities; however, lands under the jurisdiction of DOI (including certain municipal landfills) may not be utilized as disposal sites
- air and ground transportation support, and maintenance of communications support
Within the Department, individual bureaus and offices have specific responsibilities and capabilities as follows:
Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance (OEPC): The Regional Environmental Officer (REO) represents DOI on the RRT5 and is responsible for coordinating RRT5/DOI activities. The Regional Environmental Assistant (REA) provides support to the REO in planning and emergency response and acts for the REO when unavailable. The Regional Coordinator (RC) provides planning and Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) coordination. OEPC provides a number of services, including
- presenting the DOI position on chemical countermeasure and in situ burn decisions
- facilitating technical assistance requests from the OSC
- supplying administrative details to secure response cost reimbursement approval from the OSC
- initiation of natural resource damage assessments (NRDAs)
- coordinating response between DOI Bureaus
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS): Can provide responders with information concerning migratory birds, Federally listed threatened and endangered species and their designated critical habitat, certain anadromous fish, and certain Federal lands (National Wildlife Refuges, Waterfowl Production Areas, and National Fish Hatcheries), as well as technical assistance concerning the effects of oil on these resources. In addition, it will help coordinate wildlife rescue and rehabilitation efforts in conjunction with State natural resource trustee(s). The Service is responsible for assessing damages to natural resources as a result of releases of oil or hazardous substances into the environment, and issues Federal Migratory Bird and Eagle Permits to qualified individuals and/or organizations conducting wildlife collection, rescue, and rehabilitation operations related to oil spill incidents.
National Park Service (NPS): Provides expertise on historic, cultural, archeological, architectural, and recreational resources and sites on the National Register of Historic Places. NPS can also provide information on National Parks, National Recreation Areas, National Historic Sites, National Trails, Lake Shores, National Monuments, and Wild and Scenic Rivers listed on the Nationwide Rivers Inventory (NRI).
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS): Provides advice and information concerning geohydrologic, geologic, and geochemical data; ground and surface water data; and maps. USGS maintains stream flow gauges in every State and can provide historical stream flow information, assist in predicting the time/travel/trajectory of spills, and can collect and analyze surface and groundwater samples.
The Biological Resources Division performs research in support of biological resource management; inventories, monitors, and reports on the status and trends in the nation’s biologic resources; and transfers the information gained to resource managers and others concerned with the care, use, and conservation of the nation’s natural resources.
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA): Responsible for protecting and improving the trust resources of Native American Tribes and facilitating an active role in planning and response for Tribal governments as requested. BIA coordinates activities affecting Native American Tribal lands and can provide assistance to the OSC in identifying Native American Tribal government officials. BIA can also assist in obtaining access to Tribal land areas as needed for response action and will coordinate with the incident Public Information Office Director to ensure pertinent information is made available to appropriate Tribal authorities on a timely basis.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM): Has expertise in minerals, soils, vegetation, archeology, and wildlife habitat, and may provide advice on response affecting lands or minerals administered by BLM. May also provide advice in the field of oil and gas drilling, production, handling, and transportation by pipeline.
All bureaus of the Department of the Interior may be contacted through the Regional Environmental Officer, the designated member of the RRT5.