Impacts and Restoration


Scientists estimate that about 800,000 birds died as a result of the BP-Deepwater Horizon Spill

Patrollers recovered fewer than 3,000 dead birds. But some had suspected that many more were unaccounted for.
Now a team of scientists has tried to quantify the extent of damage inflicted on the gulfs bird population from the oil spill caused by the explosion. Based on models using publicly available data, the studies estimated that about 800,000 birds died in coastal and offshore waters.        Read More

Restoration projects demonstrate high rate of economic return

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has published a report documenting the economic returns from some of the projects supported through its “Partners for Fish and Wildlife” (PFW) Program and Coastal Program.  These programs channel government and private dollars to local communities where they create work to support new jobs and provide income to local contractors and other industries.  The report, entitled “Restoration Returns”, is available HERE

Scientific American article asserts Post-BP Oil Spill Gulf Restoration Projects So Far Lack Basis in Science

An article in the Scientific American observes that neither the Gulf states nor the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, tasked with developing and implementing a comprehensive recovery plan, have committed to any kind of independent peer review process.   Read More

Tulane and ELI issue paper on funding restoration in the Gulf

Environmental Law Institute and Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law & Policy published a white paper on Gulf of Mexico recovery. The paper, entitled “Deepwater Horizon Restoration & Recovery Funds: How Much, Going Where, For What?”, outlines the different funding processes in place and explores how they intersect.  The paper is available HERE

National Wildlife Federation issues report on health of Gulf species since the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

This report focuses on 14 species of special concern because of their ecological importance and exposure to oil. Though the full impacts of the spill remain unknown, this report summarizes the results of investigations made public so far about its effects on Gulf wildlife.  The report expresses particularly concern “about impacts of the oil on bottlenose dolphins, as the continued poor health of these predators at the top of the food chain may indicate problems in the ecosystem as a whole”.  The report, entitled “Four Years Into The Gulf Oil Disaster: Still Waiting For Restoration”,  is available HERE

Study finds high rates of depression, anxiety among Gulf oil spill cleanup workers

Researchers studying the health of nearly 33,000 people who did clean up work during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill say its still too early to tell what impact exposure to oil and dispersants will have on their bodies in the long-term. But early results show widespread symptoms of depression and anxiety.  This update was published in the Times-Picayune.

Report shows that Restoring Coastal Ecosystems Creates More Jobs Than Offshore Oil Development

The report, published by the Center for American Progress and Oxfam America, looked at three coastal restoration projects on different coasts in the U.S. and found that, for every $1 invested in coastal restoration projects, $15 in net economic benefits was created. These benefits include improved fish stocks, due to the fact that 75 percent of the U.S.s most important commercial fish species rely on coastal environments at some point in their life cycle, with many young fish and crustaceans using habitats such as oyster reefs as nurseries.  The Report is available HERE

BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill RESTORE Act regulations released by Treasury

The Department of the Treasury is proposing regulations concerning the investment and use of amounts deposited in the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, which was established in the Treasury of the United States by the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act). The regulations contain procedures required by the RESTORE Act, and generally describe the responsibilities of Federal and State entities which administer RESTORE Act programs and carry out restoration activities in the Gulf Coast region.      Read More

Restoration Council Issues Final Initial Report

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

The federal-state panel tasked with overseeing the billions of dollars expected to flow to the Gulf Coast from civil fines related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill yesterday released a final plan for how it will spend the money on restoring the region’s ecosystems and economies.
The full report is available HERE

Study reveals link between oil spill exposure and hematologic and hepatic toxicity

Medical Press
 A new study reports that workers exposed to crude oil and dispersants used during the Gulf oil spill cleanup display significantly altered blood profiles, liver enzymes, and somatic symptoms compared to an unexposed control group. Investigators found that platelet counts were significantly decreased in the exposed group, while both hemoglobin and hematocrit levels were notably increased. Their findings, reported in The American Journal of Medicine, suggest that oil spill cleanup workers are at risk for developing hepatic or blood-related disorders.      Read More

National Academy issues report on Deepwater Horizon Damages

In order to fully account for damage caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — and to win a settlement from BP PLC to fix it — the federal government needs to expand the scope of its damage assessment, the National Research Council said today in a new report.
The government’s traditional Natural Resources Damage Assessment, or NRDA, approach overlooks the economic and social impacts caused by the oil spill,        Read More

Commissioners submit comments on the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council’s Draft Initial Comprehensive Plan

The comments, submitted by Senator Graham and Mr. Reilly on behalf of all the Commissioners, evaluate the plan in terms of the seven questions regarding the Gulf restoration programs that the Commissioners raised in the 2013 report card:  Assessing Progress: Three Years Later.  The comments are available HERE

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council releases Draft Initial Comprehensive Plan: Restoring the Gulf Coast’s Ecosystem and Economy

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council released a Draft Initial Comprehensive Plan: Restoring the Gulf Coast’s Ecosystem and Economy and an accompanying Draft Environmental Assessment for formal public comment. The Draft Plan provides a framework to implement a coordinated region-wide restoration effort in a way that restores, protects, and revitalizes the Gulf Coast region following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.      Read More

Gulf Restoration: A Progress Report Three Years after the Deepwater Horizon Disaster

U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearings

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on June 6, 2013 titled, “Gulf Restoration: A Progress Report Three Years after the Deepwater Horizon Disaster.” This hearing was chaired by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) served as ranking member. It examined the progress and challenges thus far in restoring the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem and coastal communities following the disastrous 2010 explosion and subsequent oil spill.          Read More

NOAA Establishes RESTORE Act Science Program


NOAA is designing the RESTORE Act Science Program science plan to leverage common themes and insights from previous planning efforts, and will build investment mechanisms which can fill gaps and evolve over time, adapting to changing information and knowledge. Key existing plans include the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force Science Assessment and Needs, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance: Governor’s Action Plan II, the Gulf of Mexico Research Plan developed by the Mississippi/Alabama Sea Grant, and the Framework for Ecosystem Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico issued by the Ocean Conservancy, and others.     Read More

Environmental groups, businesses send Governors letter about oil spill fine spending

More than 120 Gulf of Mexico environmental groups and business owners, many from Louisiana, signed letters sent to Gov. Bobby Jindal and the four other Gulf state governors this week emphasizing how 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill fine dollars could drive private sector job growth. The letters urged the governors to support the use of RESTORE Act funds for large-scale environmental restoration that would create jobs and asked for state investment in worker training initiatives tailored to such jobs. Read More

Report: Gulf Wildlife Three Years Into the Oil Disaster

National Wildlife Federation

As the three-year mark of the Gulf oil disaster approaches, a new National Wildlife Federation report gives a snapshot view of six important species in the Gulf of Mexico and makes recommendations as to how we can restore their habitats and the Gulf as a whole. Read More


Gulf Future Groups Release “Guidance for Sustainable Restoration”

Gulf Future/Gulf Restoration Network

Communities from across the Gulf have come together to establish our priorities in how we restore this place we call home. These guidelines build on the Weeks Bay Principles for Gulf Recovery, established in October 2010, by conservation, community and faith-based organizations, working together to build a vision for recovery from the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster. With that vision, we set forth in this document to provide guidance for how funds should be allocated through the RESTORE Act.  Read More; The Report is available HERE

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council releases “The Path Forward to Restoring the Gulf Coast: A Proposed Comprehensive Plan”

“This document reflects the deliberations of the Council to date in developing a more detailed initial Comprehensive Plan. Our collective focus is on how to ensure the long-term health, prosperity, and resilience of the Gulf Coast. I’m confident that we can do this in a way that restores the environment, reinvigorates local economies, and creates jobs in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.” Read More


Mississippi issues “GO COAST 2020 FINAL REPORT”

GoCoast 2020 focused on eight key areas related to the activities specified in the RESTORE Act. The purposes of this activity were to chart a vision and to provide a framework of recommendations that will protect the environment as the foundation of the coastal lifeblood, improve the job creation climate to increase economic opportunities, and enhance the unique quality of life for Mississippi’s coastal residents in the near term and for generations to come. Read More


NOAA issues “Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Phase II Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Review”
NOAA et al

This Phase II ERP/ER consists of two projects [that] address response injuries to habitat of beach nesting birds and of nesting loggerhead sea turtles and have project components located in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. While this plan includes two projects, each project was viewed and evaluated as independent from the other. Read More


BP Deepwater Horizon spill: Scientists say seafood safe, but health effects being measured

“There continues to be no evidence that harmful levels of chemicals from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill are in seafood, but initial study results show that former spill cleanup workers are carrying biomarkers of many chemicals contained in the oil in their bodies, and women and children along Louisiana’s coast are reporting health effects believed linked to oil… Read More


Dispersant and Oil from Deepwater Horizon Toxic to Baby Corals
Mote Marine Laboratory

Oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster would have killed coral reefs in the Florida Keys if the plume had reached that far south, especially when mixed with the dispersant Corexit 9500, according to new study published Wednesday. Read More


Gulf of Mexico oysters consumed little, if any, oil from BP spill, study says

The authors make clear though that their findings are “not an indication that oysters were not exposed to oil; rather it implies that oysters either did not consume oil-derived materials or consumed an insufficient quantity to be clearly detectable against the background of their natural food source.” 

Read More


Dispersant makes oil from spills 52 times more toxic
NBC News

For microscopic animals living in the Gulf of Mexico, even worse than the toxic oil released during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster may be the very oil dispersants used to clean it up, a new study finds.

In the study, Snell and colleagues tested ratios of oil and dispersant found in the gulf in 2010, using actual oil from the well that leaked in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the dispersant. The mixture was similarly toxic at the various ratios tested, the study found. His group exposed several varieties of rotifers to concentrations of the oil-dispersant mixture likely seen over a large area of the gulf.

“The levels in the gulf were toxic, and seriously toxic,” Snell said. “That probably put a big dent in the planktonic food web for some extended period of time, but nobody really made the measurements to figure out the impact.” Read More


Gulf Fisheries Rebounding From BP Spill, Government Says

Gulf of Mexico fisheries are rebounding from the BP Plc (BP/) oil spill, landing more fish last year than in 2009, the year before the worst U.S. offshore marine disaster, the government said.

Read More

For contrary views see Local fishermen disappointed in their catches and Cheers and Jeers


Marine Restoration Priorities & Science Principles
Florida Institute of Oceanography

This report first summarizes those restoration options in priority order to guide the nomination, selection and monitoring of projects addressing injuries to or lost uses of marine natural resources resulting from the DWH disaster. Second, the report describes scientific principles for effective restoration – a checklist of key issues to help government agencies develop and implement a successful Gulf restoration program. Read More


Gulf of Mexico coastal restoration needs investment of billions, foundation reports

Without concerted and expensive efforts to restore the dwindling ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico, vital national resources will continue to deteriorate and eventually disappear, according to a report released today by the American Wetland Foundation. Read More /Full Report


High priority restoration projects proposed for Gulf

Proposal from a coalition of environmental and community non-profit organizations for early restoration projects and principles for selecting them Read More


Government Accountability Office raises questions about dispersants
U.S. Government Accountability Office

Says additional research is needed, particularly on subsurface and Arctic applications.  The GAO report reinforces the Oil Spill Commission’s conclusions and recommendations regarding dispersant use. Read More


Gulf Coast Residents Remain Worse Off Emotionally Post-Spill

Residents of Gulf Coast-facing counties continue to suffer from lower overall emotional health, as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Emotional Health Index, in the two years since the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Read More


Study confirms oil from Deepwater Horizon disaster entered food chain in the Gulf of Mexico
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Studies

A new study confirms that oil from the Macondo well made it into the ocean’s food chain through the tiniest of organisms, zooplankton. … [ Zooplankton] serve as food for baby fish and shrimp and act as conduits for the movement of oil contamination and pollutants into the food chain. The study confirms that not only did oil affect the ecosystem in the Gulf during the blowout, but it was still entering the food web after the well was capped. Read More


Study by NOAA and Partners Shows Some Gulf Dolphins Severely Ill

Bottlenose dolphins in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, are showing signs of severe ill health, according to NOAA marine mammal biologists and their local, state, federal and other research partners….Since February 2010, more than 675 dolphins have stranded in the northern Gulf of Mexico (Franklin County, Florida, to the Louisiana/Texas border)–a much higher rate than the usual average of 74 dolphins per year…Read More