Nearly $100 Million Proposed to Restore Gulf-wide Resources
The Deepwater Horizon Regionwide Trustee Implementation Group, which includes trustee representatives from the four federal agencies and the five Gulf coast states, is seeking public input on their first post-settlement draft restoration plan (PDF, 346 pages). The regionwide approach exemplifies collaboration and coordination among the trustees by restoring living coastal and marine resources that migrate and live in wide geographic ranges, and linking projects across regional jurisdictions.
The plan proposes $99.6 million for 11 restoration projects across all five states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, and specific locations in Mexico and on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Comments will be accepted through May 6, 2021 and the trustees are hosting two public webinars on April 15, 2021.
Proposed Project Alternatives
The draft restoration plan evaluates projects that would help restore living coastal and marine resources injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill through a portfolio of projects restoring sea turtles, marine mammals, oysters, and birds. The 11 proposed projects include:
- Four projects ($18.6 million) to help restore sea turtles focusing on nesting beaches, enhancing stranding and salvage networks, and collaborating with recreational and commercial fisheries to reduce bycatch and to gather information to inform potential future restoration projects.
- Three projects ($7.2 million) to help restore marine mammals through enhancing stranding and salvage networks and working with fisheries; including collaborating with shrimp fishing communities to reduce dolphin entanglements in gear, and hook-and-line fisheries to reduce dolphin injuries and deaths.
- One project ($35.8 million) to help increase the resilience of and restore oyster reefs by linking brood reefs and sink reefs in each of the five Gulf of Mexico States.
- Two projects ($31 million) to help restore birds through habitat restoration and nesting colony management.
- Additionally, one project ($7 million) to help restore both sea turtles and birds through the removal of marine debris.
The broad geographic areas covered ensure restoration efforts are comprehensive and effective for the entire ecosystem. The proposed projects in the draft plan may also complement projects planned or underway in other Restoration Areas.
The trustees greatly appreciate the amount of responses to our September 2019 request for project ideas. We screened more than 5,000 project ideas for consistency with the Trustee Council’s Programmatic Restoration Plan and the priorities identified in the request for project ideas.
The public is encouraged to review and comment on the draft plan through May 6, 2021 by submitting comments online, by mail, or during the virtual public meetings.
- Online: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/RWTIGRP1
- By mail:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 29649 Atlanta, GA 30345
The trustees are holding two virtual public meetings with open houses for questions and answers on April 15, 2021. During the meetings, we'll also present the draft plan and take public comments.
Date, Times and Registration
- April 15, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. CT: Register
- You’ll have the opportunity to register for one or both of the virtual meetings, as well as signing up for public comment. You can also wait until the meeting to sign up to comment.
- After registering, you will receive an email with information and links to join the virtual meeting.
- The virtual meetings will include open houses for attendees to ask questions about the restoration plan and proposed projects.
- For language or accessibility requests, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org no later than April 5.
- Regionwide Trustee Implementation Group Draft Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment 1: Birds, Marine Mammals, Oysters, and Sea Turtles (PDF 346 pages)
- Regionwide Draft Restoration Plan 1 Sea Turtle Projects Fact Sheet (PDF, 3 pages)
- Regionwide Draft Restoration Plan 1 Marine Mammal Projects Fact Sheet (PDF, 3 pages)
- Regionwide Draft Restoration Plan 1 Oyster Projects Fact Sheet (PDF, 2 pages)
- Regionwide Draft Restoration Plan 1 Bird Projects Fact Sheet (PDF, 3 pages)