Surveying oiled sargassum.

Surveying oiled sargassum.

Responding to the Oil Spill

After an oil spill or hazardous substance release, NOAA’s team of scientists, economists, restoration experts, and attorneys:

  • Collect data used to assist with cleanup and assess risk and injury to natural resources;
  • Advise response agencies (e.g., Coast Guard and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) to ensure protection of and evaluation of risk to natural resources during cleanup;
  • Determine the extent and magnitude of injuries to the environment and lost public uses;
  • Define the type and scale of restoration that best addresses the injuries and lost human uses;
  • Work cooperatively with responsible parties to resolve natural resource liability;
  • Implement projects to restore injured natural resources and uses.

Learn more about NOAA’s Oil Spill Response.

Restoration Ahead

As a member of the Deepwater Horizon NRDA Trustee Council, NOAA is focusing on short-term and long-term restoration projects that will restore the Gulf Coast from the spill.  The restoration planning process involves many steps and includes input from scientists, experts, and the public.  (Read about the steps in the Natural Resource Damage Assessment.)

Since 1990, NOAA has worked with federal, state, and tribal co-trustees to protect natural resources at more than 40 oil spills and 500 waste sites. We have generated more than $600 million for restoration to:

  • Create and restore wetlands
  • Create oyster reefs and other shellfish habitat
  • Restore coral and seagrass beds
  • Acquire, restore, and protect waterfowl habitat
  • Conduct species recovery and monitoring programs
  • Provide improved recreational opportunities

Restoration can take many years and requires the work of many dedicated people.  NOAA will continue this work until the Gulf of Mexico is restored to its pre-spill condition.

Learn more about how you can help to restore the Gulf.

NOAA’s Ongoing Presence in the Gulf

Over the years, NOAA has been involved with 380 restoration projects in the Gulf.  NOAA’s restoration scientists and specialists in the Gulf states have been providing technical assistance, coordination, and funding for restoration to many local organizations.

Learn more about NOAA’s restoration projects in the Gulf using our interactive Restoration Atlas.