GULF COAST (May 20, 2015) — The Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (Trustees) released a draft plan today that proposes 10 early restoration projects across the Gulf states at an estimated cost of $134 million. The Draft Phase IV Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessments (Draft Plan) is available for public review and comment through June 19. It is posted online at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov. Six regional meetings have been scheduled, June 2-11, 2015.
Two of the projects would enhance bird nesting habitat, four projects would improve nearshore and reef habitats, two projects would enhance recreational opportunities on federal lands, one project would reduce sea turtle mortality and one project would restore pelagic fish across the Gulf. The project names are listed below:
- Osprey Restoration in Coastal Alabama – Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Alabama
- Point aux Pins Living Shoreline – Mobile County, Alabama
- Shell Belt and Coden Belt Roads Living Shoreline – Mobile County, Alabama
- Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Trail Enhancement – Alabama
- Seagrass Recovery Project at Gulf Islands National Seashore – Florida District
- Bike and Pedestrian Use Enhancements at Davis Bayou, Gulf Islands National Seashore – Mississippi District
- Restoring Living Shorelines and Reefs in Mississippi Estuaries – Coastal Mississippi
- Texas Rookery Islands – Galveston Bay and East Matagorda Bay, Texas
- Sea Turtle Early Restoration Project – Gulf of Mexico
- Pelagic Longline Bycatch Reduction Project – Gulf of Mexico
Early restoration allows the Trustees to jump-start restoration using up to $1 billion BP has agreed to make available for projects jointly agreed to by BP and the Trustees. In return, the Trustees agree to provide BP with project-specific offsets that the Trustees will apply in the future to reduce BP’s liability for natural resource damages resulting from the spill.
Out of the $134 million estimated costs of Phase IV, about $126 million (94% of total) would be devoted to ecological projects and about $8 million (6% of total) would be devoted to projects that address lost recreational use. If the latest round of identified projects is approved and funded, approximately $832 million of the $1 billion would be obligated. More information about the first three phases of early restoration can be found at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.
All public meetings will begin with an interactive open house during which Trustee staff will be available to discuss project details. The open house will be followed by a formal presentation and opportunity for the public to provide comments to Trustee representatives. Copies of the Draft Plan are available at a number of public locations in Gulf communities.
In addition to verbal comments provided at public meetings, the public may also submit written comments through June 19, 2015:
- Online: www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov
- By U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 49567, Atlanta, GA 30345
Early restoration is not intended to provide the full extent of restoration needed to satisfy the Trustees’ claims against BP. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment and restoration will continue until the public is fully compensated for the natural resources and services that were lost as a result of the spill.