Salazar Lauds Proposed Early Restoration Projects Under Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment
Eight projects – first set to come of $1 billion agreement with BP to fund early restoration - expected to help restore Gulf Coast’s environment and strengthen economy
Contact: Adam Fetcher, (DOI) 202-208-6416
Nanciann Regalado, (FWS) 678-296-6805
NEW ORLEANS -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today commended the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustees for proposing an initial set of restoration projects in the Gulf Coast region as part of the agreement with BP to fund $1 billion in early restoration projects. The first phase of projects – made available for public comment today – is comprised of eight projects in four Gulf Coast states that total more than $57 million and include initiatives to restore oyster beds, marshes, dunes and nearshore reefs.
“These initial projects demonstrate our determination to hit the ground running when it comes to restoring the Gulf of Mexico after the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon spill,” Secretary Salazar said. “We know that this is just a beginning of what will be an important process to ensure that those responsible for the spill are held fully accountable, and this is a solid start to our restoration efforts.”
Salazar made the comments while touring the P&J oyster company, a family-owned business that has been harvesting oysters in New Orleans’ French Quarter for 130 years. Salazar noted that one of the two projects proposed for the state of Louisiana is approximately $14 million for an oyster cultch project that involves the placement of oyster cultch onto approximately 850 acres of public oyster seed grounds throughout coastal Louisiana, as well as construction of an oyster hatchery facility that would produce supplemental larvae and seed.
“By restoring oyster beds, we are ensuring a way of life continues along the Gulf Coast and bolstering the local economy that was hard hit by the Deepwater Horizon spill,” Salazar said.
Today’s announcement builds upon efforts by the Obama Administration’s Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force that is working to develop a comprehensive, long-term strategy to return the health and strength back to the Gulf Coast’s wetlands, beaches, reefs and other habitats, and to address the decline to the region’s natural resources in decades past.
Following the announcement, Salazar met with local community leaders in New Orleans to discuss the challenges and potential solutions for developing the Lafitte Corridor Greenway and Revitalization Project, a proposed pilot site identified under the Urban Waters Federal Partnership.
Additional information on today’s NRDA Trustee announcement is available HERE.
Secretary Salazar and Director Watson Respond to NAE-NRC Report on the Deepwater Horizon Blowout