Early restoration projects
Early restoration projects are designed to accelerate efforts to restore natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico that were injured as a result of the Deepwater Horizon accident
BP and the trustees, as of December 2013, have reached agreement or agreement in principle on a total of 54 early restoration projects that are expected to cost approximately $698 million, including 10 projects that were approved in 2012 and are already under way.
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 early restoration framework agreement signed in 2011 requires BP and the trustees to agree upon the potential projects, funding and the natural resources benefits the projects are expected to provide. The trustees then implement the projects.
The agreement makes it possible for restoration to begin at an earlier stage of the natural resource damage (NRD) process than usual. NRD restoration projects are typically funded only after the NRD assessment is complete and a final settlement has been reached or a final court judgment has been entered. This process often takes many years, and restoration is often delayed during that time. The early restoration framework agreement allows the parties to expedite projects to restore, replace or acquire the equivalent of injured natural resources in the Gulf soon after an injury is identified, reducing the time needed to achieve restoration of those resources.
Projects under way
Ten projects were approved in two separate phases.
Phase I projects
- The eight initial projects will restore and enhance wildlife, habitats and the services provided by those habitats, as well as provide additional access for fishing, boating and related recreational uses. The projects are in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
- The trustees approved the projects in April 2012 following a public review and comment period and implementation began in the same year.
Phase II projects
- Two additional projects will improve beach nesting habitat for birds in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, and for sea turtles in Alabama and Florida.
- The trustees approved the projects in December 2012 following a public comment period and implementation began in 2013.
BP and the trustees have reached agreement in principle on 44 projects.
Phase III projects
- The 44 projects include ecological projects that will restore habitat and resources, as well as projects that enhance recreational use of natural resources. The projects are located across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. The ecological projects include restoration of dunes, seagrasses and oyster habitats. The recreational use projects are designed to address the temporary loss of use and enjoyment of natural resources when beaches and fishing waters were closed.
- The trustees announced 28 of these projects in May 2013 and the remaining 16 in December 2013. Funding will be provided once the trustees review and address public comments, and the projects receive final approval.
The trustees provide updated information on early restoration projects through an interactive atlas.