Open Ocean Draft Restoration Plan 2 Available for Public Comment


Updated July 22, 2019

The Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group has released the Draft Restoration Plan 2 and Environmental Assessment: Fish, Sea Turtles, Marine Mammals, and Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Communities (PDF, 438 pages) for public comment. The deadline was extended through July 15, 2019, and reopened to end on August 2, 2019.

The draft plan is available here and in libraries and other repositories throughout Gulf of Mexico states, which are listed in the plan’s Appendix G. The draft restoration plan, fact sheets, Appendix G, how to provide public comment, and information on our upcoming public meeting and webinars are all below.

Corals in the deep sea of the Gulf of Mexico.

Deep sea corals in the Gulf of Mexico.

Draft Restoration Plan 2 and Environmental Assessment

Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Trustee Council began receiving project ideas from the public through the Gulf Spill Restoration project suggestion portal.

In March 2017, the Open Ocean Trustees invited public input to identify opportunities for restoration in the Open Ocean Restoration Area. Of the more than 1,600 project ideas received by the May 2017 deadline, we narrowed the list to the 23 projects and a “no action” alternative evaluated in this draft restoration plan.

Based on this evaluation, we are proposing 18 preferred alternatives for implementation. The total estimated cost for the 18 preferred alternatives is $225,680,700. The draft restoration plan and proposed projects are consistent with the Trustee Council's Programmatic Restoration plan.

The draft restoration plan focuses on the wide-ranging and migratory oceanic species within the Open Ocean Restoration Area and proposes projects for the following four Restoration Types:

  • Fish and Water Column Invertebrates.
  • Sea Turtles.
  • Marine Mammals.
  • Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Communities.

A person holding a fishing rod, fish, and barotrauma reduction device

Barotrauma reduction device used in recreational fishing.

Public Comment, Meeting and Webinars

The public review and comment period for the draft restoration plan started May 15. Based on requests, the Trustees have reopened the deadline to submit comments through August 2, 2019. After the public comment period concludes, comments will be reviewed, considered, and addressed prior to the release of the Final Restoration Plan 2 and Environmental Assessment.

Public comments can be submitted online and through the mail:
Public comments can also be submitted at our public meeting and webinars.

To provide opportunities for the public to learn more about the Draft Restoration Plan 2, The Open Ocean Trustees will hold an in-person public meeting in Pensacola, Florida and two public webinars.

  • Date: June 4, 2019
  • Time: 5:30 - 6:15 p.m. Open House
    6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Meeting
  • Location: Pensacola City Hall, Hagler/Mason Room
    222 W Main St., Pensacola, FL 32502

The in-person meeting will begin with an interactive open house where the public can ask questions and learn details about the draft plan. The open house will be immediately followed by a formal presentation and the opportunity for the public to provide comments on the draft plan.

NOTE: Parking is available in the lot in the front of the Pensacola City Hall along West Main St. On June 4, the evening of the public meeting, there is Pensacola Wahoos minor league baseball team home game nearby. Game attendees will be using the same parking lot. Please let the parking attendant know that you are attending the Open Ocean public meeting and you will not be charged for parking.

An adult sea turtle in the water

Loggerhead turtle in the Gulf of Mexico.
Public Webinars

To register for a webinar, please use one of the links below:

After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email with information on how to join. A GoToWebinar system check is recommended before attending.

The webinars will consist of a formal presentation that mirrors the information presented at the in-person public meeting. The opportunity for public comment will be made available, and instructions will be provided during the webinar. At any time during the public comment period, comments may be submitted online or by mail as described above.

All meeting presentations will be posted on our website after the meeting.

Please contact us at by May 24, 2019, if you need special assistance.

Draft Plan and Fact Sheet Documents: