A Gulf-Wide Restoration Perspective
The Gulf of Mexico is recognized worldwide as a vast and productive body of water with tremendous value in ecological, economic and socio-cultural terms. It is important to recognize that the extensive benefits the nation receives from the Gulf’s natural resources are inextricably linked to the the ecological health of the Gulf’s watershed as a whole. Society’s investment in Gulf restoration will be at risk if we restore the Gulf Coast region but fail to address systemic problems that originate further up the watershed.
The Gulf watershed is the largest watershed in North America. It is fed with water from 33 major rivers — including the Mississippi River, which captures runoff from 41 percent of the land area of the continental United States. No one entity has the capacity to successfully conduct restoration activities on such a geographic scale. The way to a healthy Gulf therefore must build on previous and existing opportunities, and rely on the strengths of partnerships that include state and local governments, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), industry and private individuals.
Below are several restoration strategies proposed by governmental and nongovernmental entities that stem from an understanding that we must take a Gulf-wide perspective and rely on a collaborative spirit to successfully restore this great natural treasure.
Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration (RESTORE) Council
- Public Review Draft of the Comprehensive Plan Update: Restoring the Gulf Coast’s Ecosystem and Economy (2016: PDF 34 pages, 5.4Mb)
- Initial Comprehensive Plan: Restoring the Gulf Coast’s Ecosystem & Economy (2013, PDF 32 pages, 8.5 MB)
Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Council
- Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Final Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (2016, Final PDARP/PEIS)
Gulf of Mexico Alliance
- Governors’ Action Plan III For Healthy and Resilient Coasts (2016, PDF 44 pages, 3.2MB)
The Nature Conservancy
- Charting Restoration: Gulf Restoration Priorities and Funded Projects Five Years After Deepwater Horizon (2015, PDF 17 pages)
- Strategy for Restoring the Gulf of Mexico: Recommendations to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (a cooperative NGO report) (2013, PDF 23 pages)
National Wildlife Federation
- Restoring the Gulf of Mexico for People and Wildlife: Recommended Projects and Priorities (2014, PDF 27 pages)
Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation
- A Land Conservation Vision for the Gulf of Mexico Region: An Overview (2014, PDF 21 pages)
- Restoring the Gulf for Coastal Waterbirds: A Long-term Vision (2012, PDF 30 pages)
For further information, please visit “Next Steps for a Healthy Gulf of Mexico.”