- Injury is an observable or measurable adverse change – including destruction, loss, or loss of use – to a natural resource, or the impairment of a natural resource service.
- Natural resources include air, fauna, flora, land, water (including surface and groundwater), and wildlife.
- Natural resource damage is the legal term referring to compensation for the “injury” or loss and destruction of natural resources and their services.
- Natural resource damage assessment is the collection and analysis of information to determine the extent of injuries to natural resources and the appropriate compensation for the injuries.
- Natural resource services are the physical and biological functions provided by the resource that serve the ecological and human uses of the environment. Examples of ecological services include flood control, plant and animal habitat, and soil stabilization. Examples of human services include birding, fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing.
- Phreatophytes are long rooted plants that obtain their water from the water table and typically consume large amounts of water.
- Responsible parties are those who caused or are potentially responsible for releases of hazardous substances or oil and may include individuals, private companies or industry, or government agencies.
- Restoration means those actions necessary to return an injured natural resource to its baseline condition as measured in terms of the injured natural resource’s physical, chemical or biological properties and the services it previously provided. Examples of restoration include replanting or enhancing wetlands, building fish ladders, or protecting groundwater quality.