Gulf of Mexico

Restoring the Gulf of Mexico: Establishing a Platform for Success

An effective ecosystem restoration program must be driven by a comprehensive vision for a healthy Gulf of Mexico.

Restoring the Gulf of Mexico - A brown pelican flies off Elmer's Island, Louisiana with an oil rig in the background. Photo: Cheryl Gerber

A Clearly Defined Mission

An effective ecosystem restoration program must be driven by a comprehensive vision for a healthy Gulf of Mexico and must address not only the injuries caused by the BP oil disaster but also long-term environmental challenges.

Any and all decision-making bodies must begin by establishing a clearly articulated mission statement of goals to accomplish in order to help guide choices and project selection in the future.

Principles for Effective Restoration

  • Sound Management
  • Stable and Coordinated Funding
  • Prudent Project Selection
  • Stewardship
  • Sentinel System for the Future

Wildlife recovered from BP Deepwater Horizon oil impact area

*The number in parentheses is the number of birds that were collected alive and then died. This number is subtracted from the total to avoid double-counting birds. ** All but one animal recovered are cetaceans (dolphins and whales).

Appendix II of the Gulf Framework (.PDF) has descriptions of a series of coastal and marine fishes, wildlife, invertebrate species and habitats that were or may have been affected by BP oil. Taken as a group, the status of these coastal and marine species and habitats can serve as indicators of injury and recovery from BP oil as well as the overall health of the Gulf ecosystem. As more information about impacts to these species and habitats becomes available, the accounts will be updated and posted in our Gulf of Mexico keystone species pages.

Selecting and Funding Projects

As restoration moves from planning to implementation, there will be many choices to make on how to spend restoration funds. Ocean Conservancy’s Framework contains project selection criteria that will ensure that the restoration program that emerges takes a comprehensive, ecosystem-wide approach and strives for results that are greater than the sum of the individual projects.

History and Commitment

For over two decades, Ocean Conservancy has worked in the Gulf of Mexico to secure a sustainable future for the region. Following the BP disaster, we have committed additional resources to work shoulder-to-shoulder with communities in the Gulf to fully restore this critical American treasure.

Next: Recommendations for Restoring the Gulf.

Restore The Gulf of Mexico

Learn how you can help us restore the Gulf of Mexico and other special places across our ocean.


Restoring the Gulf of Mexico

Degradation in the Gulf threatens fish, wildlife, the places where they live and the people who depend on a healthy ocean for jobs and business.

Recommendations for Restoring the Gulf

Decision-makers need to make meaningful and strategic investments in the Gulf of Mexico region.

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