Restoring the environment
BP has been working with state and federal agencies to assess and restore natural resources injured as a result of the Deepwater Horizon accident
BP has been working with state and federal trustees through the natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) process to collect data to evaluate the potential for injury to wildlife and habitat, and the recreational use of these resources.
More than four years of environmental assessment data suggests that most of the impact on the environment was relatively short in duration and limited in geography. A number of physical, biological and chemical processes acted upon the oil after it was released from the wellhead, causing the volume and concentration of oil to decrease as it travelled away from the well.
BP and the trustees use the cooperative field work data developed through the NRDA process to evaluate injuries to natural resources and to guide the selection of early restoration projects and longer-term restoration of the Gulf Coast. The goal is to return the environment to its baseline condition – the condition it would be in if the Deepwater Horizon accident had not occurred.
Scientists from BP, government agencies, academia and other categorisations are studying a range of species such as birds, fish, marine mammals, and plants, as well as habitats such as wetlands and beaches to understand how wildlife populations and the environment may have been injured by the accident and oil spill.
Experts are also looking at how recreational uses of natural resources may have been affected so that the lost opportunities to enjoy those activities can be addressed through restoration.
Since May 2010, more than 240 initial and amended work plans have been developed by state and federal trustees and BP to study resources and habitat. The study data will inform an assessment of injury to natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico and the development of a restoration plan.
Sharing the information
Environmental data collected by federal and state agencies and BP through the Deepwater Horizon NRDA and response efforts is being made available at gulfsciencedata.bp.com. This information is being made available in a format that will facilitate the use of the data for research and other studies.
The website includes data on fish, birds, shoreline, air monitoring samples, and oil, sediment and water chemistry. BP plans to add more data in 2015. Many of the future datasets include samples that are in various stages of analysis, validation and quality control review by government agencies. Once these reviews are complete and the data is released to BP, we plan to make the data available on the website. The trustees have also made some of the datasets available online.
Early restoration projects
While the injury assessment is still ongoing, restoration work has begun. As at December 2014, BP and the trustees had agreed to 54 early restoration projects that are expected to cost approximately $698 million, of which BP has funded $629 million to date.
The projects are part of BP's commitment to provide up to $1 billion in early restoration funding to expedite recovery of natural resources injured as a result of the Deepwater Horizon accident.
The agreement makes it possible for restoration to begin at an earlier stage of the natural resource damages (NRD) process than usual.
The trustees provide updated information on early restoration projects through an interactive atlas.