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Trustees Propose Comprehensive Restoration Plan for the Gulf of Mexico

The Trustee Council for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has proposed a comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem restoration plan for the Gulf of Mexico. The draft plan is based on their thorough assessment of impacts to the Gulf’s natural resources—and the services they provide—following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.


The draft plan would allocate up to $8.8 billion allocated for natural resource injuries under a proposed settlement with BP. The Trustees have proposed to accept this settlement, which would resolve BP’s liability for natural resource injuries stemming from the spill.

The draft plan would allocate funds to meet five restoration goals, and 13 restoration types designed to meet these goals. The restoration types address a broad range of impacts at both regional and local scales. Together, these efforts will restore wildlife and habitat and increase recreational opportunities in the Gulf.

The five goals of the draft plan are to: 1) restore and conserve habitat; 2) restore water quality; 3) replenish and protect living coastal and marine resources; 4) provide and enhance recreational opportunities; and 5) provide for monitoring, adaptive management, and administrative oversight to support restoration implementation.

The 13 proposed restoration types are:
1. Wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats
2. Habitat projects on federally managed lands
3. Nutrient reduction
4. Water quality
5. Fish and water column invertebrates
6. Sturgeon
7. Submerged aquatic vegetation
8. Oysters
9. Sea turtles
10. Marine mammals
11. Birds
12. Mesophotic and benthic (lowlight and ocean floor) communities
13. Provide and enhance recreational opportunities

In proposing this plan to address the ecosystem-level injuries caused by this spill, the Trustees considered both the potential environmental benefits and impacts. The plan does not identify specific projects for each restoration type, but lays out a framework for developing future project-specific restoration plans. The public will have the opportunity to comment on these subsequent restoration plans.

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Draft Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement is available for public review and comment through 4 December 2015. The Trustees will hold eight public meetings where you will be able to provide comments on the draft plan and the proposed settlement with BP.

The draft plan can be viewed here.

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