Ocean Conservancy: Open Ocean Restoration An Unprecedented Opportunity In Gulf Of Mexico
NEW ORLEANS – Kara Lankford, director of Ocean Conservancy’s Gulf Restoration Program, issued the following statement in reaction to the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees’ call for project ideas to restore the open ocean environment today:
“Ocean Conservancy commends the Open Ocean Trustees for taking the first step to restoring the Gulf’s marine life by calling for project ideas.
“Restoring the deep waters of the Gulf is a complex task that doesn’t always look like traditional restoration, but the need is great. The BP oil disaster killed trillions of larval fish and invertebrates. Deep-water corals, some of them hundreds of years old, died. An area 20 times the size of Manhattan is still polluted by oil on the Gulf seafloor.
“With more than $1 billion set aside for this important work in next 15 years as part of the $20.8 billion BP settlement, we have an unprecedented opportunity to restore the deep waters of the Gulf where the BP oil disaster occurred and where many other stressors exist.
“Ocean Conservancy is pleased to share a conservation resource for decision-makers –Restoring the Gulf Beyond the Shore – Part II. Building on our restoration projects proposed in 2014, this guide includes what we consider the most effective, initial approaches to achieve successful Gulf-wide restoration beyond the shore.
“Restoring the open ocean at this scale is a new frontier. The remoteness of the deep sea and the transient nature of many fish populations present a challenge for aiding and tracking recovery. Success will require smart investments in existing tools and innovative approaches. The best restoration projects are often those that aim to better understand the health of the resources in the Gulf and reduce harm and stressful conditions on them, allowing nature to recover more quickly.
“We hope the Trustees will use this resource as they consider much-needed approaches to restore the Gulf’s open ocean environment. Ocean Conservancy stands ready to help.”