Restoring The Gulf of Mexico

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Here in the Gulf, we work and play in its waters, and relish its resources—it’s a part of our lives.

Hundreds of coastal communities and local economies rely on a healthy and vibrant Gulf of Mexico.

So when 210 million gallons of oil flooded our Gulf on April 20th, 2010, we held our breath. The BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster was the largest environmental disaster the U.S. had ever seen, sickening wildlife and killing deep-water coral, marine mammals, birds and trillions of larval fish. It’s estimated that 10 million gallons of BP oil—an area 20 times the size of Manhattan—remain on the Gulf seafloor.

Fortunately in 2016, a $20.8 billion settlement was finalized with BP, with over $1 billion set aside to restore the open ocean where the disaster occurred. Today, Ocean Conservancy advocates for a number of guiding principles to drive the successful investment of billions of dollars into the Gulf—principles that include transparency, science, public engagement and taking anticipated climate change impacts into account for restoration. We are working on the ground in all five Gulf states to put local communities and their future first. Because everyone who lives in this region understands how vital the Gulf is to our lives.

We’ve set our goals for ocean restoration and we’ve worked on everything from analyzing the gaps in Gulf ecosystem monitoring to setting up a framework to begin restoration. You might have seen the effects of our work or stories of successful restoration in action, ranging from updates in the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council’s comprehensive plan in 2016, Mississippi’s $10 million investment in sea turtle and dolphin recovery, or contributing to big data systems like DIVER to better manage species recovery.

We have the opportunity in the Gulf of Mexico to pave the way for future large-scale environmental restoration, and you can bet that our researchers and restoration specialists will continue working and advocating for proper policy decisions and sustainable solutions, with the help of local government, coastal communities and people like you.

While the oil disaster was an injury to the entire Gulf ecosystem, we’re doing everything we can to ensure the recovery of this place we love and call home.

America depends on a healthy Gulf. Healthy fisheries and tourism drive a successful economy for coastal states, and it’s all our responsibility to ensure fish, dolphins, sea turtles, birds and human life can continue to rely on this ecosystem for decades to come.



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