The Blog Aquatic » Natural Resource Damage Assessment http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:32:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Gulf Receives Early Gift this Holiday Season http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/12/06/gulf-receives-early-gift-this-holiday-season/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/12/06/gulf-receives-early-gift-this-holiday-season/#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2013 17:34:25 +0000 Kara Lankford http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=7092

Photo: U.S. Coast Guard

The Gulf of Mexico received an early gift during this holiday season with the release of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Early Restoration Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). While this acronym may sound highly technical, the PEIS is an important milestone for public engagement in the early restoration process after the BP oil disaster, and Ocean Conservancy applauds the NRDA Trustees for this achievement.

You can find the full document online here. It’s nearly 2,500 pages, but don’t worry; in the coming weeks, Ocean Conservancy will conduct a thorough review of the entire PEIS and the projects in it and share our findings with you.

So why is a PEIS so critical to restoring the Gulf?

It is required so that the Trustees can plan for restoration in a way that is comprehensive, integrated and long-term. After all, the Gulf’s environment is interconnected, and the damage from the oil disaster impacts a variety of species, habitats and human uses of the environment, such as fishing and boating. The NRDA Early Restoration PEIS will help focus complex restoration needs across the Gulf region to ensure restoration projects are effective and efficient.

It is important to point out that a PEIS is regional in scope and does not replace the need for environmental review for individual projects considered for early restoration funding.

Ocean Conservancy believes all of the following should be in the PEIS:

  1. A range of potential restoration projects to address the impacts to our natural resources or the services they provide.
  2. A summary of known or potential impacts to natural resources for better transparency and more effective public involvement in restoration.
  3. A commitment to long-term monitoring of restoration projects and impacts of the spill.

Finally, a balanced and comprehensive approach is critical, and we hope to see some great options for projects to address impacts in the marine environment, along with projects in the coastal area.

The Trustees will hold a series of public meetings around the five Gulf states to gather comments on the draft PEIS. We encourage everyone with an interest in the Gulf of Mexico to attend these meetings and contribute to the restoration of the Gulf.

To learn more about the PEIS and early restoration, download our fact sheet.

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Next Steps in Gulf Recovery: Restoring Region’s Health and Livelihoods http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/26/next-steps-in-gulf-recovery-restoring-regions-health-and-livelihoods/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/26/next-steps-in-gulf-recovery-restoring-regions-health-and-livelihoods/#comments Fri, 26 Jul 2013 14:25:39 +0000 Bethany Kraft http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6409 shrimp boat

Credit: Bethany Kraft / Ocean Conservancy

With yesterday’s news that Halliburton intentionally destroyed evidence related to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, we are seeing that the truth about that disaster is still coming out. The company’s callousness at least has one bright side—it will provide more resources to an important restoration organization. But this isn’t enough.

The people of the Gulf are still suffering from this tragedy.

Three years ago, I found myself at a late-night community meeting on the coast in Alabama to discuss the oil disaster. At that point, oil was still spewing uncontrolled from the wellhead and huge portions of the Gulf were closed to fishing—meaning that thousands of people were out of a job and countless more were unable to enjoy doing the things they’d always taken for granted, like fishing, boating and swimming in the Gulf.

About an hour in, a broad-shouldered, weathered man stood up to discuss what this disaster meant for him. He explained that he made his living as a fisherman and now couldn’t afford to feed his family. As he talked, his voice began to break, and he struggled to keep talking through the tears. It was then that I knew this disaster was deeper than the sheen on the water; it was in the hearts of each Gulf resident.

I think about him often. I think about how we all felt during that awful summer. I remember how unsure we were that life would ever be the same.

I know it’s easy to forget how fearful we were when the oil was gushing. But the truth is we were and still are feeling the impacts of that summer. Luckily, there is a process called the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA). The purpose of the assessment is to compensate the people of the Gulf for the impacts to our natural resources and our lost use and enjoyment of those resources.

Funding to restore the Gulf of Mexico should fully compensate the public for their losses and include the marine environment where the spill happened in the first place. Unfortunately, the money available for this process could be used for projects that don’t help fix the damage done.

We need the NRDA Trustees to spend Gulf restoration funds on bringing back the health and livelihoods of the Gulf region.

NRDA funds are intended to support projects like:

  • Restoring fisheries
  • Restoring oyster reefs
  • Constructing living shorelines
  • Restoring dunes damaged in the BP response effort
  • Enhancing nesting areas for seabirds and turtles
  • Restoring sea grass beds

Right now, we have the opportunity to make sure the trustees listen to the people of the Gulf. They need to understand we won’t stand by and watch funding get misused on projects that don’t work to restore the natural resources we rely on every day.

Ocean Conservancy’s goal is to send 1,000 public comments from Gulf state residents to the trustees before the comment period ends on Aug. 2. If you live in the Gulf or know someone who does, please share this message and help ensure that funding to restore the Gulf is used for its intended purposes for years to come.

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