Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Five Years Later...
Trustees Announce Agreement in Principle for Next 10 Early Restoration Projects
April 20, 2015 – The Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees today announced another milestone in Gulf of Mexico early restoration. The proposal includes two Texas projects to benefit sea turtles and restore bird islands. Read more.
Phase IV Early Restoration Plan Proposed
Two new projects involving the Texas trustees have been proposed in the latest round (Phase IV) of early restoration led by state and federal Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) trustees to address impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (Spill). These include a $45 million sea turtle early restoration project for work in Texas, Mexico, and elsewhere along the Gulf of Mexico; and an approximately $21 million Texas rookery islands restoration project. The two projects are among a total of 10 early restoration projects proposed for Phase IV at an estimated cost of $134 million. Out of the $134 million estimated cost, 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.
Proposed projects are described in a Draft Phase IV Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment, now available for public review and comment. The draft plan is posted online and will be available at public meetings along the Gulf, including two in Texas (June 10 in Galveston and June 11 in Corpus Christi). 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. In addition to verbal comments provided at public meetings, the public may submit written comments through July 6, 2015.
- See public meeting schedule
- Comment online: www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov
- By U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 49567, Atlanta, GA 30345
Projects that Involve the Texas Trustees
Sea Turtle Early Restoration
The proposed Sea Turtle Early Restoration Project would help restore sea turtles by addressing threats on their nesting beaches and in the marine environment. The three species that would be addressed by this project — Kemp's ridley, green and loggerhead sea turtles — are protected by the Endangered Species Act. This project would be implemented by the Department of the Interior (DOI), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Texas Trustees over a 10-year period. The Texas Trustees would be involved in implementing the following elements of the Sea Turtle Early Restoration Project:
- Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Nest Detection and Enhancement in Texas and Mexico
- Enhancement of the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network and Rehabilitation Efforts in Texas
- Texas Enhanced Fisheries Bycatch Enforcement
Texas Rookery Islands
The Texas Rookery Islands project would restore and protect three rookery islands in Galveston Bay (Dickinson Bay Island II, located within Dickinson Bay; Rollover Bay Island, located in East Galveston Bay; and Smith Point Island, located west of the Smith Point peninsula) and one rookery island in East Matagorda Bay (Dressing Point Island, part of the Big Boggy National Wildlife Refuge). The intent of the project is to increase the numbers of nesting colonial waterbirds by restoring and protecting rookery islands in Galveston and East Matagorda Bays.
The two proposed Phase IV projects involving the Texas Trustees follow five earlier Texas-based projects approved as part of Phase III early restoration. Those five projects, including three artificial reef and two state park projects, total about $18 million, and will help compensate Texas for lost human use of natural resources resulting from the Spill. If the latest round of Phase IV 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.
Early restoration is not intended to provide the full extent of restoration needed to satisfy the Trustees’ claims against BP. The Spill injury assessment and restoration planning will continue until the public is fully compensated for the natural resources and services that were lost as a result of the Spill.
- NOAA’s Gulf Spill Restoration - home page for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
- NOAA Publications - links to important documents
- DOI Administrative Record for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
- NOAA Science Missions and Data