Open Ocean Trustees Initiate Fourth Restoration Plan

A school of Bluefin tuna (Photo: NOAA Fisheries)

The Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group has initiated drafting of its fourth post settlement draft restoration plan to address, in part, natural resource injuries to oceanic fish and invertebrates and to sea turtles caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  

We began this restoration planning effort on June 1, 2023 by inviting the public to submit project ideas. The submission period for project ideas closed on August 14, 2023. The Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group greatly appreciates the submissions in response to our request for project ideas. We organized and screened over 80 submitted ideas to develop a range of project alternatives for the Fish and Water Column Invertebrates and Sea Turtles restoration types.  

The draft plan will provide information on proposed projects, including potential funding and our evaluation of the project alternatives under the Oil Pollution Act and National Environmental Policy Act. The draft restoration plan will be consistent with the Trustee Council’s 2016 Programmatic Restoration Plan and will include proposed projects that best address the priorities identified in our request for project ideas.

We expect to release a draft restoration plan and environmental assessment before the end of 2024. The public will have the opportunity to review and provide comment on the draft plan and proposed projects. After the public comment period ends, we will consider and incorporate public comments as appropriate before completing the final restoration plan.

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