Deepwater Horizon


A Brown Pelican lands on the restored Queen Bess Island.

Rescued from Deepwater Horizon, a Resilient Native Returns to Queen Bess Island

Ten years ago, a brown pelican was rescued from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He was eventually returned to the waters of the Gulf, but before being released was fit with a leg band bearing his new name—A04. And now, A04 has become part of an even bigger success story than its survival alone might suggest.

Gag groupers are a species targeted for restoration in the recreational fisheries barotrauma reduction project.

$226 Million in Projects Approved in Gulf Open Ocean Restoration Plan

The Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group released the Final Open Ocean Restoration Plan 2 selecting 18 projects totaling almost $226 million to help restore fish, sea turtles, marine mammals and mesophotic and deep benthic communities injured by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

A loggerhead turtle swimming by divers in the Gulf of Mexico.

Comments Welcomed on Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Draft Restoration Plan

The Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group has 

A pair of common loons on the water's surface, facing each other.

Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Restoration Plan 1 Finalized

The Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group has approved its Final Restoration Plan 1 a

Marsh at the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas Coast.

NOAA Announces Latest Partnership to Restore Habitats Damaged by Oil and Hazardous Waste

NOAA and Ducks Unlimited are teaming up to restore habitat damaged from oil spills and hazardous waste releases. An initial cooperative agreement between the two organizations includes $1.8 million for restoration activities in the Gulf of Mexico, in coordination with the State of Texas.

Deepwater Horizon Trustees to Host Two Public Events, July 18 and 19 in Mississippi

Attend two important public events with federal and state Trustees, partners, and stakeholders restoring the Gulf of Mexico

The Deepwater Horizon Trustee Council is asking community members, stakeholders and interested members of the public to attend two important events that will help you better understand restoration in the Gulf of Mexico, and provide updates on our progress over the last year. 

Aerial photo of the Mississippi coast with a living shoreline project that includes natural and artificial breakwater material and marsh creation to reduce shoreline erosion.

Gulf Spill Restoration: Two Years After Settlement

It’s been two years since the Deepwater Horizon Trustees settled with BP and began implementing our programmatic plan to restore the Gulf.

Deepwater Horizon Trustee staff in boats and on marsh shorelines look at oil on the water's surface.

Deepwater Horizon: Louisiana Trustees Finalize Barataria Strategic Restoration Plan

The Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group approved and released its Final Strategic Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #3: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal and Nearshore Habitats in the Barataria Basin, Louisiana (PDF 167 pg).

Participants celebrate the re-opening of Jeff Friend Trail at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Gulf Shores, Alabama (photo U.S. Dept. of Interior)

Trail Reopening Event Highlights Significance of Ecotourism in Gulf

In January, the Jeff Friend Trail at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Gulf Shores, Alabama, was re-opened after closing for restoration last fall. The project includes new longer-lasting composite material boardwalks, several new viewing platforms, and easier-to-navigate trail materials.

Marshes were one of many critical habitats for fish and birds affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

The Latest Update from the Deepwater Horizon NRDA Trustee Council

The Deepwater Horizon Oceanic Fish Restoration Project, which aims to restore a portion of pelagic fish populations in the Gulf of Mexico, began its second year on January 1.

NOAA and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are working with Gulf pelagic longline vessel owners to reduce fish mortality through a temporary, voluntary fishing repose. The Trustees selected this project, formerly known as the Pelagic Longline Bycatch Reduction Project, in the fourth phase of early restoration.

Terrapins Released on Restored Louisiana Barrier Island

On July 6, NOAA and partners released 21 baby terrapins on Chenier Ronquille barrier island. We restored the island using early restoration funding received after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The manual describes how to count recreational users via ground personnel and/or aerial photography methods.  May 12, 2012, aerial photo used to measure beach goers for the Deepwater Horizon natural resources damage assessment.

How Many People are on that Beach? NOAA Economists Release Guide to Counting Coastal Recreators

NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration published a new guide for any organization interested in measuring recreational use at shoreline areas, fishing sites, and boat ramps affected by an oil spill. The resource titled, Best Practices for Collecting Onsite Data to Assess Recreational Use Impacts from an Oil Spill, builds off the processes and lessons learned from our experience conducting the natural resource damage assessment for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

NOAA scientists used data from satellites, aircraft, ships, buoys, and gliders to deliver critical information for the emergency response.

Deepwater Horizon: NOAA Science Seven Years Later

On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon Macondo oil well drilling platform killed 11 workers, and started the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history, releasing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA was on the scene from the earliest moments of the crisis, bringing more than 25 years of experience protecting and restoring our coasts from oil spills.

loggerhead turtle

Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group to Hold Webinar on Restoration Planning

The Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is holding a webinar on Thursday, April 27 from 12-1:30 p.m. Eastern. Participants will be able to learn about our restoration planning process, request for project ideas, and next steps for the Open Ocean Restoration Area.

Deployment Begins on Texas Artificial Reef Projects for Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Three artificial coral reef creation projects are underway off the coast of Texas.

Juvenile Kemp's ridley sea turtle oiled in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. (Photo: Blair Witherington, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

Deepwater Horizon Oil Effects on Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles Published in Special Issue

A special issue of Endangered Species Research, was published on Jan 31, 2017, and features 20 scientific articles that summarize the impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on marine mammals and sea turtles. The scientific studies, conducted by NOAA authors and partners, document the unprecedented mortality rate and long-term environmental impacts of the oil’s exposure and presents a synthesis of more than five years’ worth of data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

An Atlantic bluefin tuna strikes.

NOAA Examines Impacts of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Tuna Spawning Areas

In 2010, when the Deepwater Horizon spill poured more than 4 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) population was already depleted, having been subject to significant habitat and fishing pressures for over a decade. A new study uses 16 years of movement and spawning data from electronically tagged tuna to identify the spawning grounds affected by the spill.

An assessment contractor interviewing beach goers about public recreation losses after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

NOAA Economist Shares Data from the Deepwater Horizon Lost Recreational Use Assessment

In August, graduate students, academics, and industry consultants heard firsthand about challenges in assessing natural resource damages for the Deepwater Horizon event, the largest off shore oil spill in U.S. history. NOAA Economist Adam Domanski participated in a panel discussion at Camp Resources, an annual environmental economics workshop hosted by the Center for Environmental and Resource Economic Policy, at North Carolina State University.

stranded perinate dolphin

Perinatal dolphin deaths in Gulf of Mexico likely result of oil exposure

The high number of deaths of perinatal (near-birth) dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico was likely caused by exposure to oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The pregnant dolphins suffered chronic illness caused by exposure to petroleum products which likely contributed to fetal death, according to a team of scientists. Their findings were published today in the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms.

The types of restoration in the plan will address a broad range of impacts. Together, these efforts will restore wildlife and habitat and increase recreational opportunities in the Gulf.

Deepwater Horizon Trustees Settle with BP

Trustees Settle with BP for Natural Resource Injuries to the Gulf of Mexico

A recovered oiled sea turtle during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why Is It So Hard to Count the Number of Animals Killed by Oil Spills?

DECEMBER 21, 2015 -- After an oil spill along the coast, the impacts might appear to be pretty obvious: oil on beaches, dead birds, oil-coated otters. When conducting a Natural Resource Damage Assessment, it's our job to measure those environmental impacts and determine what kind of restoration—and how much—is needed to make up for those impacts.

Florida coastline.

Deepwater Horizon Trustees Propose Fifth Phase of Early Restoration

The Deepwater Horizon trustees have proposed the fifth phase of early restoration for the oil spill, encompassing a coastal access project in Florida. The comment period ended December 31, 2015.

Dolphin Y01 pushes a dead calf in March, 2013. This behavior is sometimes observed in female dolphins when their newborn calf does not survive. Photo credit: Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Barataria Bay, La. Dolphin Reproduction and Survival Decreased Due to Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

A team of scientists is reporting a high rate of reproductive failure in dolphins exposed to oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill. The team has monitored these bottlenose dolphins in heavily-oiled Barataria Bay for five years following the spill. Their findings, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, suggest that the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be long-lasting.

Aerial view of Louisiana shoreline

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trustees Release Comprehensive Restoration Plan for the Gulf of Mexico

The Trustees have proposed a comprehensive, integrated, ecosystem restoration plan for the Gulf of Mexico. The draft plan is based on our thorough assessment of impacts to the Gulf’s natural resources—and the services they provide—following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Case Pages:

Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Deepwater Horizon

Oil Spill | Gulf of Mexico | April 2010

On April 20, 2010, an explosion occurred on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion, which killed 11 men, caused the rig to sink and started a catastrophic oil leak from the well. Before it was capped three months later, approximately 134 million gallons of oil had spilled into the Gulf, the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.