Deepwater Horizon Natural Damage Assessment Trustee Council issues 10-year statement

The Natural Damage Assessment Trustee council, which includes members of the Deepwater Horizon Texas Trustee Implementation Group, has issued a statement commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Spill. You can find the complete statement below, or visit the NOAA Gulf Spill Restoration webpage for more details.


Today marks ten years since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred. The rig explosion led to the largest marine oil spill in American history and caused the loss of 11 men and injury to 17 others. For months, millions of barrels of oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico. Many coastal communities were severely impacted. In these trying times, we recognize the human cost of the oil spill, and continue to extend our deepest condolences to those whose loved ones were lost or otherwise injured.

On this day, we, the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees, want to provide an update on our efforts over the past decade to restore natural resources across the Gulf of Mexico. From ensuring our restoration efforts benefit multiple resources of the ecosystem to leveraging funds for maximum efficiencies, we are utilizing settlement funds to address the injuries to the Gulf of Mexico and its coastal areas.

Immediately after the spill, we worked around the clock to assess the damages to the Gulf’s natural resources. During that assessment we began developing ideas for restoration projects that would address, not only the injuries, but also the loss of “services” the natural resources provide, such as recreational use. In addition, the extent and magnitude of the injuries led us to understand that rather than focusing on discrete projects, we needed to approach restoration from an ecosystem perspective.

We also recognized the need for monitoring and adaptive management of our restoration activities. Taking action in the immediate term was vital to setting the Gulf on the path to recovery. And, because this will be a long-term process, monitoring and adaptive management will allow us to adjust our approach to achieve the most effective results.

To accelerate the recovery of the ecosystem, BP agreed to provide up to $1 billion for early restoration activities beginning in April 2011. With those early restoration funds, we immediately got to work and ultimately approved 65 projects with a combined cost of approximately $875 million. Examples include $320 million for four barrier island projects on Louisiana’s coast, as well as marsh creation projects in Barataria Basin, which was the area most heavily impacted by the spill. Additionally, a multi-state $45 million project is benefiting sea turtles by enhancing nest protection and stranding response, and engaging the shrimp fishing industry to reduce sea turtle bycatch and understand why and when it’s occurring.

In 2016, the historic BP settlement required the company to pay up to $8.8 billion, including the early restoration funds, over 15 years – the largest ever for natural resource injuries. At that time, in addition to our work on early restoration projects, we transitioned to a full-scale restoration effort.

Our Work to Restore the Gulf of Mexico

Our post-settlement work is organized and conducted as Trustee Implementation Groups where Trustees work together to propose and implement restoration projects within their respective restoration areas. These groups bring in partners and funding from other sources, when possible, to enhance restoration projects’ scope and effectiveness. In the ten years since the spill, approximately 200 projects have been approved to restore injured Gulf resources. The combined estimated cost of these projects is $1.4 billion.

In the first decade since the spill, we have made significant progress restoring resources, such as recreational use, water quality, living coastal and marine resources, and wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats. These restoration types are described in detail in our programmatic restoration plan.

These efforts build upon our ecosystem approach to restoring the Gulf. For example, many of our projects are designed to benefit multiple restoration types. Projects that restore coastal marshes may also benefit wildlife, improve water quality, and enhance recreational opportunities. Additionally, a beach project that enhances recreational access to beaches may also educate visitors about the local birds and their nests.

We are also restoring resources in multiple locations across the Gulf. For example, we have oyster reef projects in the waters off each of the five Gulf States. We are restoring habitats for migratory birds and sea turtles in multiple locations from barrier islands to the beaches that line the Gulf Coast. We have restoration projects for wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats and for improving water quality across the Gulf. And, we're continuing restoration of resources and habitats offshore in the Gulf, including new projects for marine mammals, deep-sea habitats, fish, and sea turtles.

To make the most of these efforts, we work hard to leverage funding from other sources and strive to engage other restoration partners. For example, the McFaddin Beach and Dune Restoration in eastern Texas funded by Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, RESTORE, the state, and the county. In addition, there are several projects intended to restore an adjacent salt marsh project funded by the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. This collaboration has increased the restoration footprint and reaps far greater environmental benefits.

Through coordination across funding sources, we are leveraging resources and will be able to accomplish more than would be possible with NRDA settlement funds alone.

As restoration planning has progressed through the years, the Trustees have developed guidance documents to act as roadmaps. Examples include the strategic frameworks for birds, marine mammals, oysters, and sea turtles as well as guidance for monitoring and adaptive management.

Looking Ahead

We are committed to restoring the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico for years to come. We will strive to maintain our rapid rate of progress and number of workers on the job, even as we focus additional attention on safe practices in light of the current public health situation. As we implement restoration projects, it is imperative that we manage them well and monitor their success. This monitoring and adaptive management evaluates the success of current projects and adapts them, as needed, to ensure that we maximize resource restoration. We can also use our monitoring information for future projects to improve their results.

Restoration does not happen overnight, but through careful design, successful implementation, and robust monitoring, we are confident that the wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats, water quality, living coastal and marine resources, and recreational use will be restored. Stay informed on our restoration efforts, including the annual progress and financial reports to be released in June by visiting our website at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.

04/20/2020


Texas Trustee Implementation Group Annual Public Meeting

The Texas Trustee Implementation Group will hold its 2019 annual public meeting on December 4, 2019 via an online video presentation. The presentation will include an update on the work accomplished since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, highlight several ongoing restoration projects, and present plans for future efforts.

The video presentation may be viewed at any time starting on December 4 from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. and can be viewed an unlimited number of times. The public will also have the opportunity to provide comments related to the presentation topics during the same date and times through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s public comment portal under the heading “Texas TIG Annual Meeting Video Presentation.”

Date: December 4, 2019
Time: 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. CT

Please view the video under the “Texas TIG Annual Meeting Video Presentation” heading.

For your convenience, a PDF of the presentation will be posted on the Trustees’ Texas Restoration Area page on December 5, 2019. The comment portal will close at 11:59 p.m. on December 4. If you need special assistance, including language assistance, please contact TXDWHNRDA@tpwd.texas.gov by November 25, 2019.

11/26/2019


Texas Trustee Implementation Group Annual Public Meeting

The Texas Trustee Implementation Group (Texas TIG) held the 2018 annual public meeting on October 15, 2018 at Texas A&M University in Galveston, Texas. The public meeting included a presentation about the basics of the Natural Resources Damage Assessment process, updates and highlights on Deepwater Horizon oil spill restoration projects in progress, and an interactive open house where the public spoke with agency staff.

Meeting presentations and fact sheets are available on the TPWD Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill website.

10/31/2019


Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Texas Trustees Release Restoration Plan for Texas Gulf Coast

The Texas Trustee Implementation Group (TIG) has released its first restoration plan, selecting 13 restoration projects to compensate for injuries to natural resources caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Texas Trustee Implementation Group Final 2017 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats; and Oysters was published on October 18, 2017 and prioritizes restoration projects for oysters and wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats with a total estimated cost of $45,761,000.

The 13 selected projects include:

  • Bird Island Cove Habitat Restoration Engineering, Galveston Bay System
  • Essex Bayou Habitat Restoration Engineering, Galveston Bay System
  • Dredged Material Planning for Wetland Restoration, Texas Coast
  • McFaddin Beach and Dune Restoration, Sabine Lake Area
  • Bessie Heights Wetland Restoration, Sabine Lake Area
  • Pierce Marsh Wetland Restoration, Galveston Bay System
  • Indian Point Shoreline Erosion Protection, Corpus Christi Bay System
  • Bahia Grande Hydrologic Restoration, Lower Laguna Madre
  • Follets Island Habitat Acquisition, Galveston Bay System
  • Mid-Coast Habitat Acquisition, Matagorda County
  • Bahia Grande Coastal Corridor Habitat Acquisition, Lower Laguna Madre
  • Laguna Atascosa Habitat Acquisition, Lower Laguna Madre
  • Oyster Restoration Engineering, Galveston Bay System

The final restoration plan reflects revisions to the draft plan resulting from public comments and continuing project development by the Texas TIG. In light of the recent impacts to the coast by Hurricane Harvey, the Trustees re-evaluated the proposed preferred project sites and determined that environmental coastal conditions did not change sufficiently to warrant a change in the suite of projects selected in this restoration plan.

View the restoration plan.

For more information about ongoing restoration efforts in Texas or to view this restoration plan, visit NOAA’s Texas Restoration Plan webpage.


Texas Trustees Propose New Restoration Plan for Texas Gulf Coast

Public Comment Sought on Draft Restoration Plan, Public Meetings Set for June in Galveston and Corpus Christi

The Texas Trustee Implementation Group (TIG) is working to restore the Texas coast along the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and is seeking public comment on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Texas Trustee Implementation Group Draft 2017 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats; and Oysters. The draft plan, published May 18, 2017, proposes a suite of restoration projects to compensate for injuries to natural resources caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Texas TIG reviewed more than 800 restoration projects suggested by the public, state and federal agencies, and other various stakeholders. Of these projects, the Texas TIG proposes 13 preferred projects in the draft restoration plan and environmental assessment. The natural resource damage assessment funds allocated to the Texas Restoration Area— with more than $175 million remaining in unallocated funds —are to be used to restore and conserve wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats, restore water quality through nutrient reduction, as well as replenish and protect sea turtles, birds, and oysters. For this draft plan, the Texas TIG prioritized restoration projects for wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats and oysters.

In identifying projects to include in the draft plan, the Texas TIG considered multiple factors including:
    • federal Oil Pollution Act evaluation standards;
    • restoration goals and other objectives identified in the 2016 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Final Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement; and
    • the current and future availability of funds under the Deepwater Horizon natural resource damage assessment settlement.

The draft plan is available for public review and comment through June 19, 2017. Anyone can review the draft plan and submit comments at http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov/restoration-areas/texas. The plan will be available at public meetings in Galveston and Corpus Christi. Details regarding the public meetings are below.

All public meetings will begin with an interactive open house where the public can ask questions and learn details of proposed projects. The open house will be followed by a formal presentation and opportunity for the public to provide comments on the draft plan.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this meeting is asked to advise the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department by June 1, 2017 by calling 512-389-4620 or emailing TXDWHNRDA@tpwd.texas.gov.


Texas Trustee Implementation Group Calls Reviewing Restoration Project Proposals

The Texas Trustee Implementation Group (TIG) is preparing for the next phase of restoration planning, which will ultimately result in the release of a draft restoration plan and associated National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents for public review and comment in the spring of 2017. In the meantime, the Texas TIG is reviewing restoration proposals that were submitted by the August 31, 2016 deadline.

Approximately $47.6 million is currently available for restoration project funding in Texas this year. In addition, over the next 15 years, the Texas TIG will receive approximately $124.8 million in additional restoration funding. The current restoration planning effort may utilize all or part of these funds. The Texas TIG may propose both discrete restoration projects as well as one or more programmatic restoration efforts. Each of the projects and programmatic efforts may require multiple years to complete and they may be funded in part by restoration funds received in the future.

Restoration funds allocated to the Texas TIG must be used for five specific restoration types. Early Restoration projects are already funding bird and sea turtle restoration types. Therefore, the Texas TIG is prioritizing current restoration planning efforts on restoration types that were not addressed previously: 1) restore and conserve wetland, coastal, and nearshore habitats; 2) restore water quality through nutrient reduction (nonpoint source); and 3) replenish and protect oysters. The Texas TIG will also consider projects for engineering and design that focus on the three restoration types mentioned above. The focus will be on these restoration categories, however the Texas TIG will continue to consider any important opportunities for additional restoration and protection of avian resources and sea turtles.

The Texas TIG is reviewing new projects and projects already submitted through the NOAA Gulf Spill Restoration website or NRDA or NFWF projects previously submitted on this website. All projects will be evaluated using the criteria established in the NRDA regulations (15 CFR 990.54).

DWH NRDA Background

A federal district court in New Orleans entered a consent decree resolving civil claims against BP arising from the April 20, 2010 Macondo well blowout and the massive oil spill that followed in the Gulf of Mexico.

Under this settlement, BP has agreed to pay the Trustees for Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment up to $8.8 billion for restoration to address natural resource injuries. The chart and table below show the restoration funding allocated to the Texas Restoration Area for each restoration goal. Note that some restoration categories have been fully addressed in Early Restoration; the remaining restoration funds will be allocated over the next 15 years. For more information on the allocation of funds, please visit the Department of Justice Deepwater Horizon page.

nrda-texas-allocation-of-restoration-funds

The Trustees finalized the Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PDARP/PEIS) in February 2016. The plan identifies the types of restoration needed to compensate the public for impacts to natural resources that resulted from the oil spill. Read the Restoration plan and impact statement documents, including the record of decision.

To manage restoration activities identified as part of the settlement, a Trustee Implementation Group (TIG) was assigned for each of seven restoration areas (restoration in each of the five Gulf States, the Open Ocean, and Region-wide). The Texas TIG includes representatives of each state Natural Resource Trustee agency, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and the Texas General Land Office (GLO) along with our federal partners, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI).


About NRDA

A Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) is a scientific and legal process to determine natural resource damages and hold responsible parties accountable. Certain government agencies charged with trusteeship of natural resources act on behalf of the public with responsible parties to assess damages and implement restoration. In Texas, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), Texas General Land Office (GLO), and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) act as state natural resource trustees. There are also federal agencies designated as trustees for natural resources, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Department of the Interior (DOI). For the Deepwater Horizon NRDA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are also designated as trustees.

Federal law requires the responsible parties to compensate for the injury to natural resources caused by the DWH oil spill. In 2011, BP agreed to participate in an early restoration process up to a cost of $1 billion. In this process, early restoration projects are selected and implemented upon agreement between BP and the trustees, pursuant to an Early Restoration Framework Agreement and applicable laws and regulations.

For more complete information about the DWH NRDA: www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.

View a list of Texas early restoration projects
.

The trustees continue to actively seek public input on restoration projects.

Information on review periods and timeframes associated with funding are posted on this website as it becomes available. Please check periodically for application-related announcements.

 

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All photos on this website are courtesy of the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department