Trustees for Gretna DM 932 Mississippi River Oil Spill Release Draft Restoration Plan for Public Comment
May 20, 2021
NOAA and the state and federal trustees for the Gretna Barge DM 932 oil spill have released a Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (Draft RP/EA) (PDF, 79 pages) and are requesting public comments through June 21, 2021. The plan proposes projects to restore the habitat and resources impacted by the release of oil on the Mississippi River near downtown New Orleans.
The trustees proposed restoration actions were developed through a cooperative natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) with the responsible party, American Commercial Barge Line LLC (ACL), which reflects the parties’ commitment to work together, and with the community, to ensure adequate funds for restoration to compensate the public for the natural resources and services injured as a result of the spill. Implementation of the proposed restoration projects is contingent upon future court approval of a settlement agreement between the trustees and ACL, which would be subject to public notice and comment. Going forward ACL and the trustees commit to negotiate in good faith to reach that comprehensive settlement agreement.
The spill occurred on July 23, 2008, when the chemical tanker Tintomara collided with the fuel Barge DM 932 on the Mississippi River. The collision caused the barge to split into two sections and spill approximately 280,000 gallons of oil into the river. The spill affected over 100 miles of the river downstream, from New Orleans to Head of Passes, and it impacted a wide range of habitats and wildlife, as well as significantly disrupting commercial and recreational activities due to waterway closures. The spill also interfered with critical channel dredging activities that regularly take place in the Mississippi River.
This Draft RP/EA describes the ecological injuries from the spill, as well as the recreational losses in the area. The spill affected the river, shorelines, wetlands and sediments, and several species of birds like wading birds and waterfowl. The trustees propose restoration alternatives that address the injury to natural and recreational resources, including the Woodlands Acquisition, Management, and Recreational Enhancement Project, which would provide for the acquisition and legal protection of approximately 650-acres of contiguous coastal forested wetland habitat in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, and the construction of a 9-acre crevasse splay project in the Pass-A-Loutre State Wildlife Management Area in the Lower Mississippi River. The trustees also propose to utilize settlement funds to develop projects to enhance recreational fishing access, infrastructure, and human-use opportunities. These recreational use projects may be identified and evaluated in a separate, future restoration plan or plans.
The trustee agencies include NOAA; the United States Department of the Interior, represented by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service; the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office, Department of Public Safety; the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality; the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources; the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
Please send your written comments on the plan no later than June 21, 2021, to:
- By email to: email@example.com
By mail to: Charles K. Armbruster
Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office
Department of Public Safety and Corrections
P.O. Box 66614
Baton Rouge, LA 70896