Ocean Currents » gulf restoration http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Fri, 03 Jul 2015 18:30:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Using Big Data to Restore the Gulf of Mexico http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/06/16/using-big-data-to-restore-the-gulf-of-mexico/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/06/16/using-big-data-to-restore-the-gulf-of-mexico/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 14:18:14 +0000 Libby Fetherston http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10325

If I ask you to close your eyes and picture “protection for marine species,” you might immediately think of brave rescuers disentangling whales from fishing gear.

Or maybe you would imagine the army of volunteers who seek out and protect sea turtle nests. Both are noble and worthwhile endeavors.

But 10 years of ocean conservation in the southeast United States has taught me that protecting marine species doesn’t just look like the heroic rescue of adorable species in need.

I’ve learned that it also looks like the screen of 1s and 0s from the movie The Matrix.

Let me explain.

Much of what goes on with marine life in the Gulf of Mexico—and much of the rest of the ocean—is too dark and distant to see and measure easily or directly. Whales and fish and turtles move around a lot. This makes it difficult to collect information on how many there are in the Gulf and how well those populations are doing.

In order to assess their health, you need to know where these marine species go, what they eat, why they spend time in certain areas (for food, shelter, or breeding?), and more. This information may come from a number of places—state agencies, universities, volunteer programs, you name it—and be stored in a number of different file formats.

Until recently, there was no real way to combine all of these disparate pixels of information into a coherent picture of, for instance, a day in the life of a sea turtle. DIVER, NOAA’s new website for Deepwater Horizon assessment data, gives us the tools to do just that.

Data information and integration systems like DIVER put all of that information in one place at one time, allowing you to look for causes and effects that you might not have ever known were there and then use that information to better manage species recovery. These data give us a new kind of power for protecting marine species.

Of course, this idea is far from new. For years, NOAA and ocean advocates have both been talking about a concept known as “ecosystem-based management” for marine species. Put simply, ecosystem-based management is a way to find out what happens to the larger tapestry if you pull on one of the threads woven into it.

For example, if you remove too many baitfish from the ecosystem, will the predatory fish and wildlife have enough to eat? If you have too little freshwater coming through the estuary into the Gulf, will nearby oyster and seagrass habitats survive? In order to make effective and efficient management decisions in the face of these kinds of complex questions, it helps to have all of the relevant information working together in a single place, in a common language, and in a central format.

A view of the many sets of Gulf of Mexico environmental data that the tool DIVER can bring together. (NOAA)

So is data management the key to achieving species conservation in the Gulf of Mexico? It just might be.

Systems like DIVER are set up to take advantage of quantum leaps in computing power that were not available to the field of environmental conservation 10 years ago. These advances give DIVER the ability to accept reams of diverse and seemingly unrelated pieces of information and, over time, turn them into insight about the nature and location of the greatest threats to marine wildlife.

The rising tide of restoration work and research in the Gulf of Mexico will bring unprecedented volumes of data that should—and now can—be used to design and execute conservation strategies with the most impact for ocean life in our region. Ocean Conservancy is excited about the opportunity for systems like DIVER to kick off a new era in how we examine information and solve problems.

This blog was originally published on NOAA’s Response and Restoration Blog.

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Postcards from Louisiana http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/04/21/postcards-from-louisiana/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/04/21/postcards-from-louisiana/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 12:00:49 +0000 Michelle Erenberg http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10123

In honor of the 5-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Ocean Conservancy interviewed residents about the spill, its impacts and what the Gulf means to them. Over the next 87 days—the length of the spill itself—we will be releasing “postcards from the Gulf” to share their stories. This blog is the second of a four-part series featuring some of the full-length interviews from our postcards.  Be sure to follow Ocean Conservancy on Facebook and Twitter over the next couple of months to see all of the postcards.

Chief Albert Naquin
Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw
Pointe-aux-Chenes, LA

At the edge of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana there is a narrow road bordered on both sides by piles of rocks and nearly open water peppered with the remnants of what was once thick marsh. This road leads to a small island, only a couple miles long and a half -mile wide. The island, called Isle de Jean Charles, is home to a Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians, who settled there more than two centuries ago. The land, which sustained this tribe for generations, is vanishing.

Chief Albert Naquin has served as tribal leader since 1997. He reflects on what life was like on the island: “The land has changed in my lifetime from what it was to what it is today. When I was growing up, we could catch our fish, catch our seafood and wildlife that we needed to survive. Now we have no land; basically it’s all water.”

In the past several decades, erosion of the marsh around the island has introduced more salt water from the Gulf, changing the brackish water necessary to sustain the estuaries that provided the fish, shrimp and oysters on which the tribe depended. Chief Naquin understands the value of the marsh for the island and would like to see restoration efforts focused on restoring marsh in areas that are left out of levee protection systems.

“For restoration to be a success, I’d want to put some marsh back to stop the tidal surge. It’s the water that’s causing us the harm more than the wind. When I was growing up, you’d have to climb over the marsh to get to the beach. If we could get some of that back, it could stop the salt water from coming in.”

Beyond the impact on fisheries resources, the marsh serves another life-sustaining purpose: protection. The island was once surrounded by tall marsh grasses that caught the wind and buffered the island against storm surge and flooding.  With nothing to slow them down, storms bring with them frequent floods which have had a devastating impact on the families living on the island. “I left out the island when I was young,” Chief Naquin explains, “I guess I’m not so resilient. I fought a flood once as an adult, married with a child. We had about an inch of mud in the house after Hurricane Carmen in 1974. At that time we had about 65 homes, and today there are only 25.”

Many families have moved off the island leaving behind the most vulnerable and those with the least means. “We have some younger folks there, but I don’t know if the island’s going to last for them to see it. They may have to pack up and go. But there are others who have homes that are paid for. They can’t afford rent, or another mortgage, so they have to stay there. The displacement has had a big impact on the next generation. They want to be close to mom and dad, but they can’t.”

The cultural heritage and traditions of the tribe are threatened by the fracturing of this community. Chief Naquin and the members of the tribal council are struggling to hold the community together. In recent years, most of the tribe’s members have come to understand that their survival as a tribe will likely depend on relocating and beginning a new community further from the eroding coast. For Chief Naquin, this is not something that could happen in some distant future, the needs of this community are urgent.

“We can’t restore this community or the environment around this community, because we would have to continue to have money to keep it up, because we still have storms washing it away. For me, what’s important is to invest in a new community and to put money into a fund that would sustain the community. If we had that, we wouldn’t have to ask for help because we would have our own. That’s my goal, to be self-sufficient again with the tribe. But I’m running out of time.”

More blogs from this series:

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Postcards from Alabama http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/04/13/postcards-from-alabama/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/04/13/postcards-from-alabama/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:00:58 +0000 Kara Lankford http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=10064

To commemorate five years since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster began, Ocean Conservancy interviewed residents about the disaster, its impacts and what the Gulf means to them. Over the next 87 days—the length of the disaster itself—we will be releasing “postcards from the Gulf” to share their stories. This blog is the first in a series of full-length interviews from our postcards.  Be sure to follow Ocean Conservancy on Facebook and Twitter over the next couple of months to see all of the postcards.

Alabama is a special place, not only because of its unique landscape and abundant wildlife but also because of its people. Those of us who grew up in coastal Alabama did so with fishing pole in hand and feet in the water. It’s a privilege to work each day to preserve and protect this beautiful place alongside incredible people like Tammy and Matt. Here are their postcards.

Tammy Herrington
Executive Director of Conservation Alabama
Mobile, AL

What do you love about the Gulf?
The Gulf of Mexico is this vast and mysterious creature that pulls us to its shores and provides such abundance to our communities. It makes this area of the country unique, and it ties together all of us who rely on it. I love eating the shrimp, crabs, oysters and fish that it provides. I love the many cultures of people that live along the Gulf, and all of this together is my home and the reason I work so hard to protect it.

How did you feel when the BP oil disaster began?
When we first heard about the blowout on the rig, we didn’t believe it would impact Alabama, but that quickly changed. As gallon after gallon of oil spewed into the Gulf with no end in sight, I realized for the first time in my life that we could lose all the things I love about my home—the Gulf of Mexico and the abundance that comes from it, the beautiful sugar sand beaches, eating the seafood, all of it. I looked at my husband weeks into the disaster and said to him, “What if we have to leave?” The idea of raising my children elsewhere or not being able to offer them the childhood I imagined was inconceivable to me.

What have you learned from the BP oil disaster?
Now I have a renewed passion and appreciation for the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf Coast. Our communities are resilient and have managed to once again make it through a devastating disaster. I am proud to call the Gulf Coast my home. As research continues to show what has been lost or damaged, my hope is that we can use that knowledge to restore and protect the Gulf of Mexico, the abundance that comes out of its waters and the communities that rely on it.

What is your hope for restoring the Gulf?
The BP oil disaster was an environmental disaster that impacted the economy and the communities along its shores. I want to see us restore our natural resources and make our communities stronger and more able to avert this type of disaster in the future.

I’ve lived in four of the five Gulf states, and there is no other area of this country I love more. When I graduated from college I couldn’t wait to leave, but once I did, I realized how passionate I am about my home and its people. There are many cultures across the five Gulf states, but we are tied together by our connection to this vast body of water. We must work together to protect our home and our heritage so we can pass it along to the next generation.

Matt Seese
Mobile Bay Kayak Fishing Association
Mobile, AL

What do you love about the Gulf?
I grew up on the Gulf Coast and fell in love with the creatures that live in its waters at a very young age. Fishing from the shore, my pirogue, or my little flat boat was how I tried to spend every free minute I had. From running on mud flats catching minnows with my brothers, to throwing a cast net for shrimp every night of the hot summers, I was, or was trying to be, on the water.

How did you feel when the BP oil disaster began?
I was saddened by the loss of life and thought about how devastating it must have been for the families of those killed in the explosions to get that horrible phone call. I was angry at the response from those responsible and frustrated by the lack of progress in capping the well. Shortly after the spill, we decided to “go to the beach one last time” and rented one of those condos on sale. I sat on the balcony and watched the sheen of oil come in with the tide and smelled that undeniable odor that told us the oil was here. I watched a woman trying to rinse the oil off of her child’s feet.

Now, the spill seems to have fallen away from most people’s purview. The booms that surrounded Mobile Bay are long gone. For me, it’s still there like an old wound. I wonder about the long-term effects of that much oil and that much dispersant and how it will affect the Gulf. Selfishly, I wonder how it impacted the speckled trout and redfish populations and if I can still chase my dream of the eight-pound trout.

What have you learned from the BP oil disaster?
I think the biggest takeaway for me is the widespread effect that the health of the Gulf has on our coastal communities.  We sort of knew that already, but sometimes it takes a major event to truly quantify the economic and social impacts that nature has on our everyday lives. I also learned that not only is nature resilient, but so are the residents of the Gulf Coast. Whether it’s a man-made disaster like the oil spill or a natural disaster like a hurricane, we are overcomers. We find ways to pull together across social, political, racial and economic divides to help out when we get knocked down.

What is your hope for restoring the Gulf?
I would like to see the Gulf Coast made whole in terms of habitat restoration, recreational accessibility, and sustainable commercial viability. By restoring the habitats and allowing everyone the recreational access to see what a treasure the Gulf really is, we can bring necessary attention to the restoration efforts. I would also like to see an emphasis on fisheries science to help monitor the health of both recreational and commercially important species.

More blogs from this series:
Coming soon.

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The Statement from BP We All Need to Hear http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/03/17/the-statement-from-bp-we-all-need-to-hear/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/03/17/the-statement-from-bp-we-all-need-to-hear/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 19:21:12 +0000 Bethany Kraft http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9997

Ocean Conservancy prides itself on contributing to thoughtful, science-based restoration approaches in the Gulf as we work toward returning the region to its rightful place as a natural treasure and economic engine for the entire country.

But, everyone’s patience gets tested from time to time. After seeing the latest “report” from BP, we’ve had enough of reacting thoughtfully to BP’s continued PR efforts to discredit the scientists and environmental groups working to restore the Gulf and honor the lives and livelihoods lost in this disaster. Below, we have provided a spin-free translation of the introductory letter to BP’s latest effort to convince you that they are the victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

Message from BP:

Five years of investigation: the Gulf of Mexico is rebounding

Five years have passed since the tragic events of April 20, 2010, when 11 men lost their lives aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. In the aftermath of the accident, BP Exploration & Production Inc. (BP) and federal, state and local agencies launched an extraordinary response effort to cap the well, capture and remove oil from the water and minimize impacts. Still, oil escaped into the sea for 87 days, affecting some wildlife and habitats.

Translation:

Listen, it was an oopsie. A big one. Of course it was going to take a long time to stop the well. I mean, we were totally unprepared for this. I wish now we had written an actual response plan for the Gulf of Mexico and hadn’t just copied and pasted one from the Arctic, which meant our response plan for the Gulf included protecting walruses.

To begin to understand the environmental impact, within days of the accident BP and government scientists were in the field evaluating the potential for injury to wildlife and habitats, as well as lost recreational use of these resources.

We were on TV every day telling people we were going to “make it right” while we did our best to keep the media from seeing the extent of the damage to the coastline, which is coming in pretty handy right about now when I want you to believe my “study.”

So began the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) – the largest such environmental assessment ever performed. To date, NRDA scientists have conducted more than 240 studies, and BP has spent about $1.3 billion to pay for them. The assessment is still underway.

In addition to the NRDA work, scientists working on the spill response performed environmental studies to help guide cleanup operations. This included government studies conducted by multi-agency Operational Science Advisory Teams (OSAT).

The biggest assessment ever performed—we get brownie points for that, right? BP’s annual profit in 2011 was $25.7 billion. We could have bought 20 private jets at $50 million a pop with the $1.3 billion we shelled out for you people who wanted to know whether or not a tiny bit of oil in your ocean was going to affect you.

The NRDA and OSAT studies have produced a vast amount of data on the Gulf’s condition before, during and after the accident. This information is helping scientists understand the environmental impact and recovery thus far.

The science is showing that most of the environmental impact occurred immediately after the accident – during spring and summer 2010 – in areas near the wellhead and along oiled beaches and marshes. Areas that were affected are recovering and data BP has collected and analyzed to date do not indicate a significant long-term impact to the population of any Gulf species.

Yeah, this scientific study stuff is really starting to annoy us. You’d think that footing the bill for everything would entitle us to some editorial control in what these so-called scientists are finding. That’s how it usually works for us. Do you know how much data we had to wade through to find and cherry-pick the information we needed to justify this report? It’s exhausting. You can’t trust real scientists to be unbiased about anything these days.

Several key factors mitigated the accident’s environmental impact: the location in deep water, far offshore and in a temperate climate; the type of “light” crude oil involved, which degrades and evaporates faster than other oils; the massive offshore response and shoreline cleanup effort; and the natural resilience of the Gulf’s ecosystems.

Who cares about the deep ocean? It’s not like you can drive there or anything. Out of sight, out of mind, am I right? It’s murky down there. Just a bunch of sediment. And worms. And oil (my bad). And worms eating the oily sediment. And fish eating the worms…well, isn’t this whole “food web” just a theory, anyway?

In early 2014, the U.S. Coast Guard ended active shoreline cleanup, and today injured natural resources are being restored. BP entered an unprecedented agreement in 2011 to provide up to $1 billion for early restoration projects, allowing environmental restoration work to begin while scientists continued to assess injury through the NRDA. At the end of 2014, 54 projects costing about $700 million were underway across Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

The hard work of tens of thousands of people – both inside and outside of BP – has resulted in significant progress toward understanding the accident’s environmental impact, cleaning the shoreline and restoring the Gulf. This report summarizes what BP has done and learned, and is part of our pledge to keep the public informed about progress in the Gulf. Also, data from NRDA and response scientific studies are available at http://gulfsciencedata.bp.com.

Actually, state agencies are still cleaning up oil on the Gulf Coast. But the way I’ve written this makes it sound like there’s no more oil, doesn’t it? That’s why I get paid the big bucks. So let’s stop trying so hard to “understand” the health of our ecosystem. Who cares if spiders and insects aren’t as abundant in oiled areas? I bet you don’t even like spiders.

Our goal now is to keep trying to discredit every study that says we should continue to study the Gulf and be watchful for long-term impacts. That long-term thing sounds like it could get expensive. Better to nip it in the bud now.

We hope the information will help provide a better understanding of the Gulf’s ecosystems five years after the accident, and the actions BP has taken to meet its commitment to restore the environment.

We’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on public relations to tell you everything is fine. Do you believe us yet?

Laura W. Folse
Executive Vice President
Response and Environmental Restoration
BP Gulf Coast Restoration Organization

If you don’t believe BP, join us and let’s get to the truth of the matter. Click here to share this with @BP_America on Twitter.

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BP Trial Highlights Lasting Offshore Impacts in the Gulf http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/02/02/bp-trial-highlights-lasting-offshore-impacts-in-the-gulf/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/02/02/bp-trial-highlights-lasting-offshore-impacts-in-the-gulf/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 15:09:00 +0000 Libby Fetherston http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9775

Last week during the ongoing BP trial in New Orleans, the testimony of Donald Boesch, a professor of marine science at the University of Maryland, was a real call-to-arms for ocean-lovers. Much of the impact to marine fish, habitats and wildlife has been “out of sight, out of mind” and in many cases off limits to the public.

Through Boesch’s testimony, the U.S. prosecutors hope to highlight the seriousness of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster—one of eight factors that will determine the level of environmental fines the judge will set—and make the case for fines as high as $13.7 billion. Boesch painted an alarming picture of potential marine impacts, with deep-water corals and other living creatures on the seabed of the Gulf covered in oil.

Dolphins are suffering from lung disease and low weight. Sargassum, the floating seaweed essential to juvenile sea turtles and schooling fish, was coated in oil and sank under the weight. Plankton, bacteria, protozoans, and tiny crustaceans drifting on or near the surface of water – the foundation of the Gulf’s food web – had no means to escape the toxic plume of dispersants and oil. Hundreds of thousands of sea birds and shore birds including pelicans, gulls, and gannets are presumed dead, the vast majority of which sank to the seafloor or wound up in other unreachable parts of the Gulf.

“We don’t know fully about the recoverability of these species – it’s a slow process,” Boesch said. “Something we don’t yet know is how long this effect will last.”

The work and testimony of scientists like Dr. Boesch are beginning to shed light on how severely the Gulf was hit, and give new urgency to recovery through restoration investments and solving chronic sources of stress and degradation (e.g., overfishing, pollution, the dead zone, coastal erosion, habitat destruction).

Fortunately, these marine impacts can be remedied. Restoration programs are finally underway, and with smart investment strategies, we can recover and restore what was lost in the Gulf beyond the shore. Only 9 percent of the total funding for projects go toward restoring the marine wildlife and habitats of the Gulf. We can change this number by ensuring that restoration following the BP trial includes the marine environment, where the oil disaster began.

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BP: Return on Investment Includes Cost of Business http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/01/26/bp-return-on-investment-includes-cost-of-business/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2015/01/26/bp-return-on-investment-includes-cost-of-business/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:45:21 +0000 Matt Love http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9731

Every day we monitor the health of our economy through indicators such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ or S&P 500. We are able to understand the trends in our economy through the long-term values of these indicators. Decisions are made each day based on these trends and affect every aspect of our lives. Very few business leaders would dare conduct business without analyzing these indices.

The ocean is an important driver of our economy and a major player in our ability to thrive. It provides the oxygen we breathe. It controls the weather systems that produce our food and the marine systems that sustain much of the biological wealth of this planet. The health of the ocean is immensely important, yet we conduct business every day without knowing the changes or trends in the ocean’s health.

As the BP trial presses on this week, BP and other responsible parties should be on the hook for ensuring that the Gulf of Mexico recovers from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The Gulf—like the global ocean—is critical to our economy. In order to track recovery, the resolution of this case should fund an monitoring system that tracks the health of the Gulf for at least 25 years.

When a disaster occurs like the financial crisis of 2008, we can understand its severity by looking at stock indices. When a disaster occurs in the ocean, like the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, we struggle to comprehend its severity, because we have no reliable indicators to recognize trends. Sadly, there are very few sustained, long-term monitoring programs  to track the health of our oceans.

Only by having a long-term, comprehensive monitoring system in place will we know if we are achieving desired goals. By tracking progress, we will be able to understand how restoration is performing, which allows for course corrections, and thereby reduces the risk of failed approaches. Any settlement intended to resolve BP’s penalty for harming the Gulf must recognize the requirement to monitor restoration in the context of the ecosystem.

Ocean Conservancy is working with scientists around the Gulf Coast, including members of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance, the  Gulf Coastal Ocean Observing System and the National Academy of Science’s Gulf Research Program, to map out the current landscape of long-term monitoring programs that could serve as components to this comprehensive system. The goal is to help identify existing programs that maintain a long-term data record of resources that were ultimately injured by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. By incorporating existing programs, the cost and effort of monitoring the entire Gulf is much less daunting.

For a successful resolution of the BP trial, it’s critically important that funding is made available for this long-term monitoring.

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How Do We Restore the Gulf Beyond the Shore? http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/18/how-do-we-restore-the-gulf-beyond-the-shore/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/18/how-do-we-restore-the-gulf-beyond-the-shore/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 20:19:54 +0000 Libby Fetherston http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9034

In the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, everyone’s talking about how we restore the Gulf Coast. But the Gulf of Mexico is more than what we can see from the shoreline. If we restore the coast without restoring the deep waters, we’re only addressing half the problem.

That’s why Ocean Conservancy has created Restoring the Gulf Beyond the Shore. It’s a short guide to the wildlife that lives in the Gulf’s waters and it explains why it is so important that we ensure the health and safety of our fish, dolphins, seabirds, and whales (yes, whales in the Gulf!).

With over 15,000 species that call these waters home, and dozens of migratory visitors – Atlantic bluefin tuna, sperm whales and northern gannets, to name a few of my favorites – the Gulf plays host to incredible creatures and complex dynamics connecting land and sea. Even before the BP oil disaster, the Gulf was struggling under the weight of dead zones, overfishing, coastal habitat loss and more. With much of this damage underwater and out of sight, restoration becomes even more difficult to define, because we must imagine what we cannot directly see and estimate what we cannot directly count.

Along the coastline, restoration is defined as replacing something that has been damaged. It is a tangible process that creates new oyster beds, marshes and barrier islands. Beyond where the eye can see, however, restoration must take a different shape. Restoring deep-water species and habitats means gathering knowledge through science and technology that we can then use to reduce human impacts and other sources of stress and give marine species the best opportunity to recover on their own. This approach is known as natural recovery and there are few other ways to restore fish, dolphins, turtles or deep-sea corals.

In an era of shrinking budgets, science and knowledge have been something of a luxury in the Gulf. And now restoration funds resulting from this disaster offer an unprecedented opportunity to repair what was damaged, fix chronic problems and enhance what remains. The decisions we make now will impact the region for decades to come, and the only question that remains is: how do we invest in successful and strategic restoration projects and processes that restore the Gulf, on which so much depends?

The long answer? Restoration must be comprehensive: from the rivers that feed the estuaries, to the deepest expanses of the seafloor, where the BP oil disaster began, to the communities that call the Gulf Coast home. We must make smart and immediate investments that address pressing needs in the Gulf, as well as foundational projects that support ongoing and future restoration efforts. If we are going to use this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to protect and enhance the Gulf and its unique culture, we must ensure that restoration of the marine environment is an integral part of our approach.

The short answer? Let’s make those decisions count.

Want to make a difference for the Gulf? Tell our Gulf leaders to include marine restoration projects as an essential component of Gulf restoration.

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