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  • What We Know Now About the BP Oil Disaster | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan The impacts to wildlife and their habitats are shocking and far reaching Despite clean up efforts and the natural weathering processes over the five years since the spill oil persists in some habitats where it continues to expose resources in the northern Gulf of Mexico In many cases the damage to wildlife and habitats was more severe than previously understood The ecological linkages of these habitats and communities and their connectivity to the larger Gulf of Mexico ecosystem can result in cascading impacts influencing the overall health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem Together the National Wildlife Federation and Ocean Conservancy scientists have worked to dig in to the massive report and digest its findings Here is a snapshot of the types and severity of impacts outlined in the draft report 1 Birds While the Trustees acknowledge that this is a very conservative estimate the total number of birds killed by the BP oil disaster is from 56 100 to 102 400 birds At least 93 species of birds across all five Gulf Coast states were exposed to oil 2 Beach Dune Habitat BP oil covered at least 1 300 miles of the Gulf coastline including 600 miles of beach dune and barrier island habitat 3 Lost Human Use The public lost 16 857 116 days of boating fishing and beach going experiences The total loss of recreational use of the Gulf due to the disaster is worth 528 million to 859 million 4 Oysters Between 4 and 8 3 billion oysters are estimated to have been lost Over three generations minimum recovery time the dead oysters would have produced a total of 240 to 508 million pounds of fresh oyster meat 5 Salt Marsh Louisiana lost up to 53 percent of its salt marsh plants across 350 721 miles of shoreline In Louisiana wetlands erosion rates approximately doubled along at least 108 miles of shoreline The effect lasted for at least 3 years 6 Sargassum Sargassum a floating seaweed that provides habitat for young fish and sea turtles was exposed to oil which may have caused the loss of up to 23 percent of this important habitat 7 Seagrass Habitat Seagrass beds covering a total area roughly the size of 206 football fields 272 acres were lost from the time of the disaster through 2012 8 Larval Fish The Trustees estimated that 2 5 trillion larval fish were killed The loss of larval fish likely translated into millions to billions of fish that would have reached a year old had they not been killed by the BP oil disaster 9 Sea Trout Several of species of sea trout including the spotted or speckled sea trout were severely impacted by the disaster An estimated 20 100 billion sea trout larvae were killed as a result of the disaster 10 Shrimp The growth of young white pink and brown shrimp was dramatically affected by oil The total loss of shrimp production over 2010 and

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2015/11/16/what-we-know-now-about-the-bp-oil-disaster/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Ten Years after Katrina, What the BP Settlement Means for Louisiana Restoration | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    and Engineering Special Team SEST Seafood State Legislature The Netherlands Uncategorized Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife Ten Years after Katrina What the BP Settlement Means for Louisiana Restoration July 16 2015 Posted by lbourg in 19 Priority Projects 5 Years Later BP Oil Disaster Community Resiliency Diversions Hurricane Katrina Hurricanes K10 Restoration Projects RESTORE Act Science By Steve Cochran Director Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program Environmental Defense Fund Ten years ago just after Hurricane Katrina I was asked to talk to Environmental Defense Fund s board about the place where I grew up the New Orleans area that had been hit so hard I remember two things about that discussion One was my voice breaking unexpectedly and embarrassingly as we talked through pictures of the Katrina aftermath and came across places I intimately knew As an adult I had developed a love hate relationship with my home loving the beauty the people the community and the culture but frustrated by what I saw as the general tolerance of mediocrity and corrupt politics that limited its possibilities That frustration had pushed the love down and I had moved away But there it was again Sometimes you don t know how much you care The second thing I remember was saying that the Katrina response was a deep test of our governments local state and national As we know now in that moment it was a test they failed But fast forward to July 2 2015 the day a global settlement was announced in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill case It was a day when governments rose to the occasion The result was literally the largest environmental settlement in U S history The BP Settlement and Louisiana Coastal Restoration Under the agreement Louisiana will receive more than a third of the money 6 8 billion of the 18 7 billion and 5 8 billion of that is specifically targeted to restoration The overall restoration total for Louisiana will likely be just under 8 billion including early restoration dollars and criminal settlements These are significant resources at a critical time Land loss across the coast of Louisiana exacerbated by the spill continues at a fearful rate But we are making progress against that loss and with the solid state commitment that now exists and effective plans in place these resources will allow us to battle back in earnest with a clear eyed view toward success In particular the state plans to re engage the enormous power of the Mississippi River and its sediment through a series of sediment diversions using the natural land building capacity of the river by reconnecting it to the delta it originally built This science based innovative approach is the critical piece in our ability to provide solutions at a scale that can match the challenges in the Mississippi River Delta now the largest restoration effort under way in the world Rebuilding Our Coast to Protect Our Communities About a month after the spill I was allowed to sit

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2015/07/16/ten-years-after-katrina-what-the-bp-settlement-means-for-louisiana-restoration/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Following the oil spill, new science and research efforts develop in the Gulf of Mexico | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    are different We are here to help How are the areas of focus in each of these science programs different There are three broad areas of focus that all of these programs collectively address Ecosystems the environment The human element Offshore oil development the environment However there are key distinctions between each program and how they address these broader topics Ecosystems the environment Based on the statutory language in the RESTORE Act the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA science program covers all marine and estuarine ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico The Centers of Excellence CoE programs are more narrowly focused on coastal and deltaic systems Both of these programs also include fisheries with CoE programs being limited to coastal fisheries but also covering coastal wildlife The National Academy of Sciences NAS program broadly addresses protection of environmental resources while the Gulf of Mexico Research I nitiative GoMRI does not have a directive to concentrate on specific ecosystems or species GoMRI does however have an explicit focus on ecosystem recovery The CoE programs can emphasize ecosystem restoration and sustainability and NAS has interpreted language in the settlement agreements to include restoration of the environment and ecosystem services under their program as well The NOAA program is supposed to support ecosystem sustainability and restoration to the maximum extent practicable There is a focus on ecosystem management in the current science plan but this program is not specifically designed around restoration science The human element The BP oil disaster also has had a great impact on human communities Both the NAS program and GoMRI are investigating human and public health issues that have developed in the wake of the spill This includes socioeconomic research as well as behavioral mental and social well being CoE programs can address economic and commercial development in the Gulf region with a focus on sustainable and resilient growth Offshore oil development the environment Throughout the Gulf Coast and particularly in Louisiana the oil and gas industry is an important economic driver and employer But offshore oil and gas production needs to be done responsibly for both the people and environment of the Gulf Safe and sustainable offshore energy development is something on which CoEs can focus The NAS program is will be addressing oil system safety and GoMRI will be developing technology related to oil spill response and remediation GoMRI s primary focus is on the impacts of oil and dispersants on Gulf ecosystems and organisms as well as the physical and chemical questions surrounding oil and dispersants such as where did the oil go and how has the oil and dispersants been degrading Are all of these programs investing the same kinds of science As with the areas of focus there is a lot of overlap in the types of science activities that these programs are targeting but there are a few important differences The obvious commonality among all four programs is research which is not surprising as they are all science focused endeavors GoMRI

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2015/05/05/following-the-oil-spill-new-science-and-research-efforts-develop-in-the-gulf-of-mexico/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Exploring Early Coastal Restoration Funding and Projects | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    in earnest until BP accepts responsibility and pays its civil Clean Water Act fines which could amount to nearly 14 billion These fines will be used for Gulf Coast restoration thanks to the 2012 federal RESTORE Act Since the spill however some funds have been made available for initial restoration projects and research program development Over a series of blog posts we will explore some of these funding streams and the restoration efforts they support Restoration funding through NFWF The National Fish Wildlife Federation NFWF a congressionally chartered non profit organization was founded as a conservation grant maker and clearinghouse In 2013 NFWF established its Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund to administer funds resulting from settlement agreements reached with Transocean and BP in the wake of the 2010 oil disaster The terms of these agreements state that Louisiana will receive half of these funds which total 2 544 billion over the course of five years for environmental restoration Specifically this money is dedicated to barrier island restoration and river diversion projects Since NFWF began granting money to the five Gulf states in late 2013 more than 221 1 million has been awarded to Louisiana for seven restoration projects and programs all of which support our coalition s priority projects including Caminada Headland Beach Dune Restoration Construction on a second phase of the Caminada Headland Beach Dune restoration project should be underway this April The engineering design and permitting of this project which is part of the Belle Pass to Caminada Pass Barrier Island Headland Restoration has been funded and completed East Timbalier Island Restoration The East Timbalier Island restoration project part of the Timbalier Islands Barrier Island Restoration has received funding for engineering design and permitting The final design and permitting of this project which has to be completed before it can be constructed is expected to wrap up in late 2017 River Diversions Engineering permitting and stakeholder engagement for the Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion has been funded and is underway Initial planning studies for other river diversions are also being funded such as the Mid Breton Lower Breton and Lower Barataria Sediment Diversions Planning decisions are currently being made about the Increase Atchafalaya Flow to Terrebonne project and it may be into engineering and design as early as next year CPRA s Adaptive Management Program Components of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority s Adaptive Management program are also being funded by NFWF including the Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring program the development and initial implementation of SWAMP System Wide Assessment and Monitoring Program and operation of the small scale physical model Restoration funding through NRDA The Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA is the scientific and legal process to assess and quantify injuries to natural resources and services following environmental disasters such as oil spills The full NRDA process for the Gulf oil disaster may take up to a decade so in 2011 the NRDA Trustee Counci l and BP agreed to implement and pay for respectively an early restoration

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2015/04/03/exploring-early-coastal-restoration-funding-and-projects/ (2016-05-01)
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  • A visit to the Caminada Headland Beach & Dune Restoration project | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Oil Disaster Clean Water Act Restoration Projects Science By Estelle Robichaux Restoration Project Analyst Environmental Defense Fund The BP oil spill has had devastating impacts on Gulf Coast ecosystems and communities but coastal Louisiana s land loss crisis began decades before the disaster The Clean Water Act fines and other money paid through settlements relating to the spill offer an unprecedented opportunity to restore Gulf Coast habitats and natural resources Many of the early restoration projects funded in Louisiana are focused on barrier islands because of the important role they play in the coastal ecosystem and the severe impacts they experienced during the spill Louisiana s barrier islands were heavily oiled because they act as a first line of defense against disturbance such as storm surge or in this case oil In fact Louisiana s coastal islands continue to experience re oiling even today Caminada Headland Beach Dune Restoration One very important barrier island restoration project currently underway is the Caminada Headland Beach Dune restoration which is part of our coalition s priority project Belle Pass to Caminada Pass Barrier Island Restoration The Caminada Headland forms the western edge of the Barataria Basin barrier system and has experienced some of the highest rates of shoreline retreat and land loss along the Louisiana coast Photo Google Earth I recently had the opportunity to see the first constructed phase of the Caminada restoration project on a field trip hosted by our partner Restore or Retreat and the Greater Lafourche Port Commission It was inspiring to see restoration at work There were birds and crabs on the shoreline small plants naturally re vegetating and the different project components working together breakwaters protecting the shore and the sand fence having created a substantial dune More projects like this are exactly what coastal Louisiana needs Why is the Caminada Headland important The Caminada Headland is a significant feature along Louisiana s coastline because it provides critical habitat for important neotropical migratory birds and threatened or endangered species such as the piping plover and Kemp s ridley sea turtle It is also a buffer from storm surge and waves for valuable public and private infrastructure including Port Fourchon and Highway 1 which provides the only evacuation route for coastal communities such as Grand Isle La Piping plover Photo Erik Johnson Port Fourchon Photo Estelle Robichaux Port Fourchon is an important nexus in our national energy infrastructure system Approximately 18 percent of the nation s oil supply is transported through the port and it is the land base for the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port LOOP The LOOP is connected to refineries across the country which collectively make up half of the oil refining capacity in the U S and handles about 15 percent of our foreign oil imports The activity infrastructure and continuing growth of the port is truly impressive What makes this restoration project unique The first phase of the Caminada Headland restoration project created and enhanced more than 300 acres of beach and dune habitat

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2015/04/07/a-visit-to-the-caminada-headland-beach-dune-restoration-project/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Using adaptive management to help restore coastal Louisiana | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    million to Louisiana s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA to fund and further develop parts of its Adaptive Management Program Louisiana s Coastal Master Plan has been designed around an adaptive management approach to ecosystem restoration The parts of the adaptive management program funded through NFWF will help CPRA make decisions about current and future barrier island and river diversion projects What is adaptive management and why is it important Adaptive management is a foundational concept in modern ecosystem management and restoration The primary motivation behind adaptive management is to reduce the uncertainty surrounding actions that will affect an ecosystem or natural resource Using a combination of active and passive learning experimentation and monitoring respectively adaptive management answers questions and provides information about how ecosystems react to management actions such as restoration projects as part of a science based decision making process Monitoring is one of the most important components of effective ecosystem restoration and management though its necessity and usefulness are often misunderstood or overlooked Monitoring is essential because it helps keep managers informed about short and long term trends in an ecosystem Long term monitoring is particularly important because ecosystems are complex sensitive and often slow to change For projects monitoring is essential for proving success or identifying possible areas for improvement or changes in operations While project level monitoring is helpful in learning about localized outcomes of restoration the BP oil spill highlighted the lack of coordinated comprehensive monitoring throughout the Gulf region There are multiple ongoing monitoring efforts in Louisiana some of which are both long term and large scale However without coordination among systems the information produced through monitoring cannot be used to its highest potential in adaptive management which is an integral part of large scale ecosystem restoration CPRA s Adaptive Management Program CPRA s Adaptive Management Program is made up of more than 20 different components four of which will be supported by NFWF funds over the next three years Coast wide Reference Monitoring System CRMS monitoring stations in coastal Louisiana Photo CRMS Louisiana in conjunction with the U S Geological Survey and funding from the Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act CWPPRA has had the Coast wide Reference Monitoring System CRMS Wetlands in operation for more than a decade Although the large scale and long term information produced by this monitoring system has been very useful it is not fully comprehensive because it is limited to wetlands Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring Program The Barrier Island Comprehensive Monitoring BICM program which was implemented in 2006 was designed to complement CRMS Wetlands BICM provides long term data on Louisiana s barrier islands to help inform the planning design evaluation and maintenance of barrier island restoration projects System Wide Assessment and Monitoring Program CRMS monitoring station in salt marsh near Caminada Bay Monitoring gauges are contained in the pipes Photo CRMS The concept of a System Wide Assessment and Monitoring Program SWAMP for coastal Louisiana has been envisioned since the development of CRMS

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2015/04/15/using-adaptive-management-to-help-restore-coastal-louisiana/ (2016-05-01)
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  • A tradition worth building - Collectively sustaining and stewarding our coast | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    Isaac Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Rita K10 Job openings Latest News Louisiana Coastal Area LCA Whites Ditch Mardi Gras Pass Media Resources Meetings Events Mississippi River Gulf Outlet NOAA People Faces of the Delta Profiles in Resilience Staff Profiles Tributes Voices of the Delta Reports Restoration Projects 19 Priority Projects Diversions Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion Restore the Coast Science Science and Engineering Special Team SEST Seafood State Legislature The Netherlands Uncategorized Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife A tradition worth building Collectively sustaining and stewarding our coast April 29 2015 Posted by lbourg in 5 Years Later BP Oil Disaster Community Resiliency People Voices of the Delta By Maura Wood Partnership Manager National Wildlife Federation On April 20 several members of the Restore the Mississippi River Delta campaign gathered with community members in Davant Louisiana to commemorate the 5 th anniversary since the BP oil spill with testimony and discussion about how the terrible oil unleashed on that day is still affecting us all Those gathered included representatives from NGOs fishermen residents of coastal communities business leaders employees of restoration agencies and others While there is widespread agreement that restoring our coast is a priority and that BP should pay to repair the damage it created we sometimes disagree on how best to achieve these goals Our collective situation is urgent Unfortunately our differences sometimes prevent us from making rapid progress When we let ourselves become attached to one idea or one way of doing things we may begin to see those with different ideas as one dimensional opponents making it less likely we ll be able to solve our land loss crisis To avoid this outcome I and my colleagues make contact with a variety of people concerned about restoration in as many ways and as often as possible The invitation to the workshop for Plaquemines Parish Fishermen and Fishing Communities five years after the BP oil disaster was a welcome opportunity to learn more from the first hand experiences of others The panels and discussions dealt with how BP had settled or not with fishermen the damage left behind from the oil and the dispersant and how the citizens of lower Plaquemines Parish were coping or not with the environmental financial and cultural losses forced upon them by the oil spill Testimony from fishermen shrimpers and oystermen clearly spelled out some of the obstacles they still face Prior to the spill many had served as deckhands on oyster boats or as small operators selling sack oysters from the public seed grounds For some troubles began even earlier with Hurricane Katrina Following the oil spill producing the necessary proof of loss of income was difficult for many of these fishermen resulting in their receiving little to no compensation from BP Other participants expressed concerns about the long term effects of dispersants sprayed during the oil spill the failure of oysters to recover on the east side of the river and how the oil spill was still unravelling the economic fabric of

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2015/04/29/a-tradition-worth-building-collectively-sustaining-and-stewarding-our-coast/ (2016-05-01)
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  • BP's claims of Gulf recovery are a mockery | Restore the Mississippi River Delta
    River Flood 2012 Coastal Master Plan Coastal Master Plan series Army Corps of Engineers Birds BP Oil Disaster 5 Years Later Two Years Later Climate Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority CPRA coastal restoration Community Resiliency Congress Senator David Vitter Senator Mary Landrieu Economics Job Creation Wildlife tourism Economy Federal Policy Clean Water Act Natural Resource Damage Assessment NRDA RESTORE Act Water Resources Development Act WRDA Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force Hunting and Fishing Hurricanes Hurricane Isaac Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Rita K10 Job openings Latest News Louisiana Coastal Area LCA Whites Ditch Mardi Gras Pass Media Resources Meetings Events Mississippi River Gulf Outlet NOAA People Faces of the Delta Profiles in Resilience Staff Profiles Tributes Voices of the Delta Reports Restoration Projects 19 Priority Projects Diversions Mid Barataria Sediment Diversion Restore the Coast Science Science and Engineering Special Team SEST Seafood State Legislature The Netherlands Uncategorized Videos Wax Lake Delta Wildlife BP s claims of Gulf recovery are a mockery Commentary April 22 2015 Posted by lbourg in 5 Years Later BP Oil Disaster Commentary by David Yarnold President National Audubon Society Tribune News Service April 22 2015 Just in time for the fifth anniversary of the worst oil spill in U S maritime history BP has declared all s well on the Gulf Coast The oil has been mopped up and there s been no lasting damage to birds wildlife or fish Really At the same time that BP was releasing its five years later report BP contractors were trying to clean up 25 000 pounds of oiled sand from a massive tar mat that slimed one of the fragile barrier islands south of New Orleans Toxicology experts at Louisiana State University confirmed it was the same oil that spewed from the April 20

    Original URL path: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/blog/2015/04/22/bps-claims-of-gulf-recovery-are-a-mockery-commentary/ (2016-05-01)
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