DWH NRDA Restoration - Louisiana TIG Draft Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #7: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats and Birds
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the largest maritime oil spill in U.S. history. It resulted in the discharge of millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), each party responsible for a vessel or facility from which oil is discharged, or which poses the substantial threat of a discharge, is liable for, among other things, removal costs and damages for injury to, destruction of, loss, or loss of use of natural resources, including the reasonable cost of assessing the damage. Pursuant to OPA, federal and state natural resource trustees, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and trustee agencies from the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, were charged with assessing and restoring for injuries to affected Gulf resources.
Under a global settlement reached on April 4, 2016, the Trustees released the Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PDARP/PEIS). The settlement agreement includes a funding schedule that will extend through 2031. During this timeframe the trustees will provide many opportunities for public participation, including the opportunity to submit project ideas and proposals and to comment on draft restoration plans.
Consistent with the PDARP/PEIS, the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group has prepared the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group Draft Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment #7: Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats and Birds. The total estimated cost of the five preferred project alternatives is approximately $234.1 million.
Under the "Wetlands, Coastal and Nearshore Habitats" restoration type, the preferred alternatives include a conceptual project that would undergo engineering and design (E&D) and two alternatives that would be analyzed for full implementation, if selected. These alternatives are: (1) Bird's Foot Delta Hydrologic Restoration project (E&D), (2) Terrebonne Basin Ridge and Marsh Creation Project: Bayou Terrebonne Increment (Terrebonne project) (full implementation) and (3) Grande Cheniere Ridge Marsh Creation (full implementation).
The Terrebonne project was approved and funded for E&D in the 2017 Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group Final Restoration Plan #1: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats; Habitat Projects on Federally Managed Lands; and Birds. The other, Bayou Grand Cheniere Ridge and Marsh Creation project underwent E&D through a separate funding process. Both projects have reached a stage in their E&D where sufficient information has been developed for analysis under NEPA and the OPA NRDA regulations.
Under the "Birds" restoration type, the LA TIG proposes conceptual projects that would undergo E&D if selected for funding. The preferred "Birds" alternatives are (1) Isle au Pitre Restoration, and (2) Terrebonne Houma Navigation Canal Island Restoration.