The Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group has approved its Final Restoration Plan 1 and Environmental Assessment: Birds and Sturgeon (PDF, 163 pg) which selects three projects at a total estimated cost of $16 million. These projects are intended to partially compensate the public for injuries caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to birds and sturgeon, consistent with the Trustees’ Programmatic Restoration Plan. Two projects include restoration activities for injured migratory bird species that winter in the Gulf of Mexico, but nest in northern latitudes. The Trustees have determined that these bird species may be most effectively restored by enhancing breeding success in areas where these birds nest. Each of the selected projects is described below.
This project will reduce mortality and increase reproductive success of common loons at breeding, nesting, and resting locations in Minnesota. Activities include acquisition and/or easements of lakeshore loon nesting habitat, enhancing loon productivity by providing artificial nesting platforms in targeted lakes and engaging Minnesota lake associations in loon conservation activities, and reduction of loon exposure to lead-based fishing tackle. The estimated cost of this project is $7,520,000.
This project will protect wetland habitat and adjacent upland grassland habitat to enhance and improve breeding sites and foraging conditions for black terns (PDF, 2 pg) in more than 30 counties in North and South Dakota located in the Prairie Pothole Region. Conservation easement agreements will be implemented on a voluntary basis with participating landowners as part of ongoing United States Fish and Wildlife Service conservation programs in those states. The estimated cost of this project is $6,250,000.
Characterizing Gulf Sturgeon Spawning Habitat, Habitat Use and Origins of Juvenile Sturgeon in the Pearl and Pascagoula River Systems
This project will identify and characterize potential Gulf sturgeon spawning habitat in the Pearl and Pascagoula River systems; describe habitat accessibility and patterns of habitat use during spawning periods, and determine the river of origin for juvenile sturgeon; and synthesize the data needed to evaluate and prioritize Gulf sturgeon spawning habitat restoration projects such as in-stream barrier removal, spawning reef creation, or riparian restoration. The estimated cost of this project is $2,150,000.
We released the Draft Restoration Plan 1 and Environmental Assessment: Birds and Sturgeon for review and public comment on October 9, 2018 and held two public webinars in October 2018. The comment period closed November 9, 2018. In the Final Restoration Plan 1, the Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group considered all public comments received on the draft document. The comments informed the analyses and selection of the preferred restoration projects. A summary of the public comments and responses to those comments are addressed in Chapter 6 of the Final Restoration Plan 1.
|Final Restoration Plan 1 and Environmental Assessment: Birds and Sturgeon||PDF, 163 pg|
|Bird Restoration Projects Fact Sheet||PDF, 2 pg|
|Sturgeon Restoration Project Fact Sheet||PDF, 2 pg|