Restoring sensitive habitats for wildlife, such as this oiled pelican rookery in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, is a typical Early Restoration activity.
If you would like to contribute to official plans to restore Gulf of Mexico ecosystems damaged when the Deepwater Horizon mobile drilling unit sank in May 2010, here is your chance. The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustees seek public input on the Deepwater Horizon Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Assessment, which was released in mid-December.
The Deepwater Horizon Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Assessment lays the groundwork to rebuild coastal marshes, restore wetlands and barrier islands, and improve people's use of natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico.
The plan will begin large-scale restoration in the Gulf to compensate for natural resource injuries, including the loss of human use of Gulf resources, which occurred when the Deepwater Horizon rig released approximately five million barrels (210 million gallons) of crude oil. The document describes the initial projects proposed to receive funding from the $1 billion Early Restoration Agreement announced by the Trustees and BP in April 2011.
The eight proposed projects include two each in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The projects reflect input that the Trustees received through various outreach efforts. Early Restoration typically includes activities such as rebuilding coastal marshes, replenishing damaged beaches, improving human use of resources, conserving sensitive habitats for wildlife, and restoring wetlands and barrier islands.
Your input is important, so weigh in on the plan at one of the public meetings to be held in Gulf Coast communities and Washington, DC, throughout January and February 2012. You may also comment online through February 14, 2012.
The NRDA Trustee Council for the Deepwater Horizon incident includes the U.S. Department of Commerce (NOAA), U.S. Department of the Interior (Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Affairs), U.S. Department of Defense, and the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.