LLG teamed with Pennoni Associates to complete an assessment of natural resource damages and lost recreational uses as a result of an Inadvertant Return (IR) along the Mariner East natural gas pipeline next to Marsh Creek State Park, Chester County. The project was conducted by the PA Department of Natural Resources in order to understand the impacts of drilling fluids and restoration efforts on water quality, natural habitats, and recreation at the Park.
LLG led the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) to determine how much and what type of restoration will adequately compensate the public for injuries to natural resources. Using an approach called Habitat Equivalency Analysis, LLG determined how many acres of replacement wetlands would be required to offset the lost ecological services.
Lost recreational services were evaluated using a Benefit Transfer Analysis, which applies recreational use values from selected studies in place of actual site-specific data. Boating and fishing were primarily impacted due to a sediment plume from the IR that led to the Park’s closing of a popular cove. Using visitor and observational data and baseline recreational use values, total lost recreational use was valued for three distinct periods of injury.
These findings provide important information as state agencies seek acceptable compensation for recreational and ecological damages to state park land.