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Trustees

The concept of restoring natural resources is derived from the Public Trust Doctrine. This body of common law provides that public lands, waters, and living resources are held in trust by the government for the benefit of its citizens. The Doctrine establishes that the government is to administer such resources for the public’s use and enjoyment.

The President, the Governors of each state, and Native American tribes each designate officials who may act on behalf of the public as trustees for natural resources.

In New Jersey, the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the designated "trustee" charged with the duty of administering and protecting the state’s natural resources. The NJDEP’s Office of Natural Resource Restoration (ONRR) represents the Commissioner in this capacity.

Federal trustees and their representatives include:

  • Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. National Park Service)

  • Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

  • Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture.

Trustees are authorized to pursue restoration for NRD injuries pursuant to Federal and State law, including those listed on the NRD Applicable Statutes page.

 

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Last Updated: January 12, 2004