NOAA to implement US gulf restoration plan
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced it will be implementing a restoration plan for the American Gulf Coast to help correct damage done by the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill.
The plan will involve 44 separate projects costing an estimated total of USD 627 million (EUR 495.7 million), and includes restoring barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.
“Preserving, protecting, and restoring natural resources is an integral part of our efforts to foster resilience in communities nationwide, including those affected by the Deep Water Horizon oil spill,” said Kathryn D. Sullivan, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. “These projects reflect an earnest commitment to the gulf and will enhance the region’s economic, social, and ecological resilience in the future.”
NOAA said its largest project will be in Louisiana — restoration of beach, dune, and back-barrier marsh habitat on Chenier Ronquille, an island off the Louisiana coast.
“The investments to rehabilitate the critical coastal habitats of Louisiana begins the long road to a more sustainable delta,” said Louisiana Sea Grant director Robert Twilley.
The restorations also involve projects in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, where NOAA is operating “living shorelines” projects, geared toward improving wildlife habitats. The projects will total more than USD 65 million (EUR 51.4 million) in restoration work.
“Habitat is the key, it’s first what you do to an animal’s habitat then what you do to the animals,” said Corky Perret, a Mississippi-based board member of the Gulf Seafood Institute. “These restoration projects should create and/or restore habitat vital to our fish and wildlife resources. The Mississippi project is desperately needed, as are any projects stabilizing the barrier islands.”
The new projects are to be funded through the USD 1 billion (EUR 790.6 million) provided by BP as part of the 2011 Framework Agreement on early restoration.