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.

Three workers completely covered except for their faces in protective gear hold down and wash a brown pelican.

Gulf restoration, like the immediate response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, requires extensive coordination and collaboration. Photo by Greg Thompson, USFWS.

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

Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Council

Gulf of Mexico Alliance

The Nature Conservancy

National Wildlife Federation

Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation

Audubon Society

For further information, please visit “Next Steps for a Healthy Gulf of Mexico.”