BP Agrees to $600 Million in Gulf Restoration Projects
Gulf Islands National Seashore and Breton National Wildlife Refuge are two of 28 proposed projects to receive important restoration funding
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (Trustees) and BP have reached a preliminary agreement identifying over $600 million in post-oil spill restoration projects.
The 28 projects, for implementation in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, will focus on restoration of marshes, barrier islands, dunes, near shore marine environments, and includes several projects to enhance access to recreational and other human-use opportunities across the Gulf.
This agreement is the first step in moving forward with the proposed projects, and is part of the unprecedented agreement with BP to provide $1 billion for restoration prior to the completion of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA).
“The Department of the Interior is pleased the Trustees are moving forward with planning and public review of this proposed suite of early restoration projects,” said Rachel Jacobson, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at Interior. “The Trustees have already helped jump-start Gulf restoration with the selection last year of ten projects totaling $71 million. Those projects were presented to the public as draft early restoration plans - a total of 13 meetings were held – before the projects were finalized. The Trustees will use the same process of working with communities on this new group of proposed projects.”
The Department of the Interior is the proponent for several key projects, including proposals for approximately $15 million in restoration work to address injuries at Gulf Islands National Seashore, and $72 million to address injuries at Breton National Wildlife Refuge:
Gulf Island National Seashore (Florida). This proposal will improve visitor access to the seashore and restore lost recreational opportunities that are important to tourism and the local economies. One proposed project involves removing tens of thousands of cubic yards of asphalt fragments and road base material that have been scattered over hundreds of acres and approximately 11 miles of the Fort Pickens and the Santa Rosa areas of Gulf Island National Seashore. The estimated cost of this project is approximately $11 million. Another $4 million is proposed to cover the purchase of two ferry boats for use in a new ferry service to the Gulf Island National Seashore.
Breton Island National Wildlife Refuge (Louisiana). This proposed project includes $72 million to restore the refuge, an important component of the $320 million Louisiana Outer Coast Restoration effort. Breton Island, established in 1904, is the second oldest National Wildlife Refuge in the nation and was among the first terrestrial habitats to be oiled during the oil spill because of the position along the outer coast. Louisiana barrier islands, including Breton, provide important habitat for a wide variety of fish, shellfish, birds, and other wildlife.
“The Department will continue to support restoration of the resources that were injured by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” added Jacobson “We’re committed to working with our fellow Trustees to ensure the Gulf is made whole, and that the residents of the region and other stakeholders and interest groups are fully engaged in those efforts.”
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.
As was the case with the previous early restoration plans (Phase I and Phase II), before any additional projects are selected for implementation, they will be subjected to all legal requirements, and they will be made available for public review and comment.
Information about the 28 projects, as well as notification of public meeting times, dates and locations will be made public as soon as that information becomes available on the Trustees’ website, www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.