The Deepwater Horizon Trustees announced nearly $ 100 million in new Gulf restoration projects, including nearly $ 35 million specifically to support bird populations recovering from the oil spill nearly 11 years ago. Some of the projects selected for funding are included in Audubon’s vision to restore the Gulf of Mexico.
“Audubon is excited about this series of projects that will protect, restore and improve the places birds need to survive and thrive,” he said Kara Fox, Director of Gulf Coast Restoration for the National Audubon Society. “These projects are an important investment given the unprecedented damage to birds following the BP oil spill.”
Proposed projects include the Bird Nest and Forage Management Project, which will support the management of coastal birds in four Gulf States. A recent study by the Audubon science team found that management is an integral part of any recovery or recovery program. Seabirds and waders are vulnerable to predators, boaters, and beach-goers, and shorebird management programs are critical to the thriving of many shorebirds.
Reddish Heron, Copyright Dusan S Brinkhuizen, from the Surfbirds Galleries
Other bird support projects include the restoration, protection and management of critical nesting islands such as Chester Island in Texas, Chandeleur Islands in Louisiana, Round Island in Mississippi and Dauphin Island in Alabama. Threatened by increasing storms and rising sea levels, these islands are a safe haven for thousands of breeding birds such as the red heron, brown pelican, ringed plover and American oystercatcher. Migratory birds such as the Red Knot and Piping Plover rely on their low-lying islands on their flights on the Central and Mississippi flyways.
Another new project will identify and remove marine debris from key “hotspots” on the Gulf Coast where birds and sea turtles are at risk of picking up or entangling marine debris such as discarded fishing lines, nets and traps.
These funds are provided through the unprecedented $ 20 billion settlement BP paid to federal and state governments for its role in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which killed 11 people and an estimated 1 million birds, and carried 210 million gallons of oil in the Gulf were released.