Natural Resource Damage and Assessment Program (NRDA) Monitoring and Adaptive Management (MAM) Program Development


Description

The Cross-Trustee Implementation Group (Cross-TIG) Monitoring and Adaptive Management (MAM) work group was established by the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Council to meet the monitoring and adaptive management obligations described in the Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan (PDARP) and Trustee Council Standard Operating Procedures. On behalf of DOI, USGS co-leads the Cross-TIG MAM in conjunction with NOAA and a state Trustee (rotated annually among the Gulf states, currently Florida). The work group consists of one primary and one alternate representative with technical expertise from each of the nine Trustee Council members.

Objectives

Objectives of the Cross-TIG MAM:

  • Provide a forum for coordination on monitoring and adaptive management topics relevant to multiple TIGs.
  • Develop recommendations to the Trustee Council on monitoring and adaptive management procedures and guidelines, including development and maintenance of the Monitoring and Adaptive Management Procedures and Guidelines Manual (MAM Manual).
  • Support the TIGs and Implementing Trustees, upon request, in meeting their MAM responsibilities.
Background

After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, federal and state agencies including the Department of Commerce (NOAA), the Department of the Interior (represented by FWS, BLM, and NPS), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the five Gulf States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, formed a Trustee Council and began working together to collectively assess the injury caused by the spill and to select the appropriate restoration measures to compensate the public for the injury to and lost use of the resources each of the Trustees hold in trust for the public. In pursuit of the damage claim, the Trustees divided its responsibilities into two parallel actions: development of an injury assessment and implementation of Early Restoration funded by up to $1 billion made available from BP to quickly initiate restoration. On April 4, 2016, the Trustees reached a settlement with BP resolving their liability for natural resource injuries from the oil spill. Under this settlement, called the Consent Decree, BP will pay a Clean Water Act civil penalty of $5.5 billion (plus interest), $8.1 billion in natural resource damages (this includes the $1 billion already committed by BP to pay for early restoration), up to an additional $700 million (some of which is in the form of accrued interest) for adaptive management, or to address injuries to natural resources that are presently unknown but may come to light in the future, and $600 million for other claims, including claims under the False Claims Act, royalties, and reimbursement of natural resource damage assessment costs and other expenses due to this incident.

The Trustees are responsible for providing “a comprehensive restoration plan that restores the range of habitats, resources, and services injured by the spill by allocating restoration funds using an integrated restoration portfolio across Restoration Types and locations.” The goals for the NRDA restoration are to:

  1. Restore and Conserve Habitat
  2. Restore Water Quality
  3. Replenish and Protect Living Coastal and Marine Resources
  4. Provide and Enhance Recreational Opportunities
  5. Provide for Monitoring, Adaptive Management, and Administrative Oversight to Support Restoration Implementation

The Trustees also identified Restoration Types that are nested within each of the programmatic goals and could be used to develop procedures for selecting and implementing restoration projects. These Restoration Types include:

  1. Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats
  2. Habitat Projects on Federally Managed Lands
  3. Nutrient Reduction
  4. Water Quality
  5. Fish and Water Column Invertebrates
  6. Sturgeon
  7. Submerged Aquatic Vegetation
  8. Oysters
  9. Sea Turtles
  10. Marine Mammals
  11. Birds
  12. Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Communities
  13. Provide and Enhance Recreational Opportunities
Methods

As directed by the Trustee Council, the Cross-TIG MAM work group will help fulfill the following MAM responsibilities:

  1. Maintain and update the MAM procedures and guidelines as part of the Trustee Council Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and the MAM Manual. The Cross-TIG MAM work group will review the MAM provisions included in these SOP and recommend revisions, as needed, to the Trustee Council for future versions of these SOP. Support the TIGs in developing MAM SOPs compatible with these SOPs and the MAM Manual, as needed.
  2. Facilitate coordination and compatibility of MAM procedures across TIGs. Promote efficiency and collaboration in addressing MAM priorities.
  3. Coordinate with TIGs and other science and monitoring programs in the Gulf of Mexico where appropriate, including the development of compatible monitoring standards, procedures and guidelines, and identifying and/or filling critical information gaps.
  4. Develop mechanisms to engage with the broader scientific community.
  5. Aggregate and synthesize monitoring data and information to evaluate collective progress toward meeting Restoration Type goals.
  6. Identify emerging unknown conditions/processes that could influence restoration outcomes in order to inform the Trustee Council’s decisions on the timing and purpose of establishing the Adaptive Management and Unknown Conditions TIG.
  7. Provide input on the functionality of the Restoration Portal for monitoring information and data, including but not limited to development of interactive reporting and analysis tools.
  8. Perform programmatic reviews to evaluate the Trustees’ collective progress toward meeting the restoration goals described in the Final PDARP/PEIS and provide feedback to TIGs for consideration in future restoration decision-making.
  9. Report on progress toward programmatic and Restoration Type goals.
Data Synthesis

As directed by the Trustee Council, the Cross-TIG MAM work group:

  • Will establish mechanisms to aggregate and synthesize monitoring data and other information collected across all TIGs for each Restoration Type at appropriate intervals to evaluate collective progress toward meeting Restoration Type goals and objectives.
  • May also support the TIGs, at their request, in aggregating and synthesizing monitoring data and other information collected within a TIG to assess progress within its restoration area. Procedures for evaluation of progress toward restoration goals will be described in the MAM Manual.
References