SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1996

Use of Behavioral Avoidance Testing in Natural Resource Damage Assessment


Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) provisions established under federal and state statutes enable natural resource trustees to recover compensation from responsible parties to restore injured natural resources. Behavioral avoidance testing with fish has been used in NRDAs to determine injuries to natural resources and to establish restoration thresholds. In this manuscript we evaluate the use of avoidance testing to NRDA. Specifically, we discuss potential “acceptance criteria” to evaluate the applicability and relevance of avoidance testing. These acceptance criteria include: (1) regulatory relevance, (2) reproducibility of testing, (3) ecological significance, (4) quality assurance/quality control, and (5) relevance to restoration. We discuss each of these criteria with respect to avoidance testing. Overall, we conclude that avoidance testing can be an appropriate, defensible, and desirable aspect of an NRDA.

Author Information

Lipton, J
Hagler Bailly Consulting Inc., Boulder, CO
Little, EE
National Biological Service, Midwest Science Center, Columbia, MO
Marr, JCA
Hagler Bailly Consulting Inc., Boulder, CO
DeLonay, AJ
NBS, Midwest Science Center, Columbia, MO
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Developed by Committee: E47
Pages: 310–322
DOI: 10.1520/STP11717S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5345-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2031-0