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Dear Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Council,

We are joining with Ocean Conservancy to fully support the sea turtle nesting ground project currently under consideration for early restoration funding. We believe this project has a clear nexus to the injuries caused by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and will have the additional benefit of addressing pre-existing environmental problems in the Gulf of Mexico.

Independent experts, including those from Ocean Conservancy, have identified sea turtle nesting restoration as an area that should be addressed as part of the marine restoration work needed in the wake of the oil disaster.

This multi-site, multi-state project takes a comprehensive and integrated approach that should increase cost-effectiveness, facilitate adaptive management and improve the overall efficiency of the project.

At the same time, scaling this project to the regional level is appropriate given the scale of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The sea turtle nesting project will serve as a good model for future projects proposed by the Trustees.

To help ensure project goals are achieved at each site and that recovery is occurring, we join with Ocean Conservancy in recommending the Trustees:
•    Establish a comprehensive monitoring and adaptive management program that measures progress at the project level and enables Trustees to track natural resource recovery at the regional level by understanding how factors unrelated to the project and oil spill are inhibiting recovery;
•    Budget sufficient funds for project-level monitoring but also for long-term, comprehensive monitoring for all NRDA projects aimed at understanding changes in the ecosystem;
•    Establish performance benchmarks, or at a minimum commit to developing them, so that progress can be measured over the project’s life and/or until injured natural resources have been restored; and
•    Provide the public easy access to the status of individual projects and injured natural resources or lost services by synthesizing and visualizing information.

We join with Ocean Conservancy in thanking the Trustee Council for proposing this thoughtful and meaningful project that will begin to restore marine environments by protecting sea turtle nesting grounds.

Ocean Conservancy and Your Name

Please help us support an early restoration project that will help heal the Gulf of Mexico by protecting loggerhead turtle nesting grounds. Sign the petition today.

This critical work will go a long way toward helping the recovery of threatened sea turtle populations by:
• Eliminating or replacing existing lighting to reduce harm to turtle nesting grounds;
• Retrofitting streetlights and parking lot lights that are interfering with nesting areas; and
• Funding a public awareness campaign on the effects of lighting on sea turtle nesting grounds.

Sea turtles help connect the coastal and marine environment and local communities like few other species in the Gulf of Mexico. Let’s give them some peace and quiet so they can rebuild their population.

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