Gulf of Mexico
NOAA Gulf Spill Restoration Open Ocean Restoration Area

Open Ocean Trustees Release Monitoring and Adaptive Management Strategy

The Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group released the Open Ocean Monitoring and Adaptive Management Strategy (PDF, 18 pg.), a document describing processes to help us fine-tune our restoration work, and promote effective and efficient use of restoration funding.

The strategy lays out processes to assist with identifying and prioritizing information gaps and data needed to successfully plan, implement, evaluate, and adaptively manage Open Ocean restoration. It also describes how we will fill those gaps and coordinate activities with other Trustee Implementation Groups and science and restoration programs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Open Ocean restoration is complex because of the wide range of habitats in which we are working. The Restoration Area includes water column and ocean bottom fish and invertebrates, sea turtles, birds, marine mammals, sturgeon, and deep-sea corals. Gulf species are wide ranging as well, some spending part of their lives in the Gulf and migrating as far away as Canada and the Mediterranean Sea.

To ensure we don’t overlook any important parts of this complex system, we’re engaging with scientists, experts, and other community members to assist with identifying potential information gaps. The February 2019 monitoring and adaptive management workshop was one opportunity for stakeholders to help us, and we’ll provide similar opportunities in the future.

The strategy is a living document and will be updated over time as the Trustee Implementation Group’s restoration efforts evolve. The next update will present priorities that emerge through the processes laid out in this initial document, including stakeholder engagements, to evaluate identified information gaps.

Adaptive management involves adjusting the restoration projects, monitoring and adaptive management activities and the entire Deepwater Horizon restoration program over time, based on monitoring results and improved scientific understanding. The process creates an expanding base of knowledge that supports current and future restoration decision-making.

The Trustee Council presented a general monitoring and adaptive management framework in the 2016 Programmatic Restoration Plan, and published a Monitoring and Adaptive Management Manual to provide further guidance in 2018.

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