Ensuring a Strategic and Sustainable Restoration Effort

The oil spill settlement provided an infusion of dollars to jumpstart restoration in Louisiana that has enabled the state to make significant progress on key Coastal Master Plan projects. But the settlement dollars will not be enough, which means we need a longer-term strategy for additional funding for the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan.

Stakeholders and decision-makers across the Gulf states should coordinate on restoration spending strategies for different funding streams during the near and long term.

The state of Louisiana should identify sustainable funding beyond the term of the oil spill settlement.

Louisiana should continue to lead on restoration plans and policies that connect the long-term health of the Mississippi River Delta with the rest of the Gulf region.

People working with soil in Louisiana

In the 10 years since the oil spill considerable progress has been made on project planning and implementation. There are currently 24 restoration projects that have been completed, are in construction or are currently moving towards implementation using settlement money.

Utilizing Science and Performing Restoration the Right Way

Restoration to address oil spill injuries and create a healthy, more sustainable future for the Gulf of Mexico requires planning and investment in a suite of restoration projects that work together to create large-scale and long-term benefits. Since Louisiana was at the heart of the oil spill (and restoration in Louisiana is key to restoring long-term health to the Gulf), it is critical that restoration projects in the Mississippi River Delta are implemented efficiently and without delay so that their benefits can be realized.

In 2020 and beyond, state and federal agencies should efficiently advance projects that offer maximum benefits based on the best available science, and stay on track to meet specific milestones.

Science programs across the Gulf should connect available research dollars to restoration processes already underway, to ensure that science funds help to inform and improve outcomes of Gulf ecosystem restoration.

As projects move forward and generate monitoring and performance data, the information should be standardized and centrally stored to promote efficiency and coordination.

Engaging Communities for a More Resilient Future

From oil spills to hurricanes, Louisiana’s coastal communities have been at the forefront of disasters that have caused flooding, economic disruption, resource constraints, employment insecurity and population shifts. At the same time, these disasters have increased communities’ risks and vulnerability to impacts from climate change like sea level rise, hurricanes and extreme weather.

To meet these challenges, we must go beyond the status quo and seek innovative solutions. Ahead of the national curve in other areas, the state of Louisiana has already deployed awareness and engagement strategies that go beyond the typical public comment processes, cultivating a more informed and active public. However, the future holds many more important opportunities to build on that community engagement work to ensure the long-term success of restoration and adaptation programs.

From restoration planning to project implementation, state and federal agencies should improve the stakeholder engagement process.

Workforce development, procurement strategies and coastal restoration should play an integral role in benefitting local and regional economies.

State and federal agencies should innovate fisheries management so fishers can adapt to a wider range of environmental conditions, such as the likelihood that an increasing amount and frequency of Mississippi River water will flow through the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

Mississippi River Delta


Ten years after the most devastating ecological tragedy to hit the Gulf of Mexico happened, restoring the Mississippi River Delta and its surrounding coastline isn’t just about recovering the wildlife and habitats harmed from the 2010 oil spill; it is ultimately about the opportunity to envision a more sustainable and resilient delta for future generations. The people of coastal Louisiana should be central to developing that vision, working together with the state, agencies and the NGO and science communities to ensure that the right projects are selected to move forward; that billions of settlement dollars are spent in ways that maximize restoration potential; and that the economies and ecosystems of the coast continue to thrive in decades to come.

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