Submit Your Ideas for Open Ocean Restoration Area Planning

A school of tuna underwater (Credit: NOAA)

Đọc tường thuật bằng tiếng Việt. (Read this story in Vietnamese.)   

The Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group wants your ideas for helping to restore fish, water column invertebrates, and sea turtles harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  

Submit new restoration ideas, or revisions of previously submitted ideas, through the Trustee Council’s project idea submission portal, by August 14, 2023.  

For restoration projects, the Open Ocean Trustees target species that can be wide-ranging and migratory, meaning that some projects may take place outside of the Gulf of Mexico. The Trustees are currently implementing more than 20 projects approved through previous restoration plans. 

For this upcoming Restoration Plan, the Trustees are seeking a range of project ideas to meet one or more of the goals for restoring Fish and Water Column Invertebrates and Sea Turtles. Project ideas may build on the progress made by existing restoration projects, or implement approaches and techniques distinct from those already underway. We will also consider phased project ideas.   

Please refer to the Deepwater Horizon Trustees’ 2016 Programmatic Restoration Plan to learn more about the Trustees’ restoration goals, approaches, and techniques. 


Restoration Type Focus: Fish and Water Column Invertebrates (FWCI) 

For this restoration planning effort, the Trustees are particularly interested in project ideas that address the objectives and priority species identified in the Fish and Water Column Invertebrates Strategic Plan (PDF, 102 pages), from March 2022. The plan identifies high-priority species and sets priority objectives.   

High priority species include: blue marlin, spotted seatrout, mullets, menhaden, greater amberjack, red grouper, vermilion and red snapper, yellowfin tuna, and king mackerel. 

High priority objectives include: 

  • reducing bycatch 

  • reducing illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing 

  • improving health of priority fish species by developing tools and techniques to reduce uncertainty in restoration and provide best practices to stakeholders and fishing communities 

  • reducing threats from marine debris 

  • reducing post-release mortality in recreational fisheries 

The Trustees also encourage project ideas that build upon successful restoration techniques developed through existing restoration projects, such as the Oceanic Fish Restoration Project, and the four FWCI restoration projects selected in the Trustees’ second restoration plan:  

Restoration Type Focus: Sea Turtles 

For this restoration planning effort, the Trustees encourage project ideas that build upon successful sea turtle restoration techniques, such as: 

  • reduced injury and mortality through improved response to threats and emergency events  

  • reduced risk from vessel strikes 

  • improved awareness and use of bycatch reduction devices 

  • the conservation of sea turtle nesting habitat 

The Open Ocean Trustees are implementing six sea turtle restoration projects selected in the Trustees’ second restoration plan. Some of these projects focus on identifying successful techniques and implementing collaborative approaches to reduce sea turtle bycatch and protect important beach nesting habitat. 

The Trustees also encourage project ideas that will advance any of the techniques and concepts identified in the Strategic Framework for Sea Turtle Restoration Activities (PDF, 67 pages) that provide benefits to Gulf of Mexico sea turtle species throughout their life cycle or geographic range. 


Project Idea Submission 

For this upcoming restoration plan, we will only consider project ideas submitted, updated, or revised during the solicitation period, from June 1 through August 14, 2023. Please incorporate the following information in your project idea description when applicable: 

  • targeted restoration goal(s)

  • applicable restoration approach or technique

  • anticipated benefits to one or more injured resource  

  • implementation activities identified

  • potential performance metrics to evaluate restoration benefits

The Trustees may also develop restoration projects for consideration or modify project ideas to better meet our restoration priorities. We will evaluate all project ideas for their ability to meet the goals of the 2016 Programmatic Restoration Plan and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. 

Project Idea Submission Portal 

Suggest a restoration project idea for consideration  

View previously submitted projects  

The public will have an opportunity to review and provide input on all draft restoration plans, including specific projects proposed for implementation, in accordance with the Oil Pollution Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and the Deepwater Horizon Trustee Council Standard Operating Procedures. After the public comment period ends, we will review, consider, and incorporate public comments, as appropriate, before releasing a final restoration plan. 

Please contact us at if you have any questions. We look forward to receiving your restoration project ideas. 


Additional Resources 

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