NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Millions in BP money stemming from the 2010 oil spill will be used to restore marine life in the Gulf of Mexico.
Federal agencies have approved nearly $226 million for 18 projects. The money is coming from a $8.8 billion settlement with BP for natural resources damage.
John Fallon, Director of Sustainability and Coastal Conservation at the Audubon Nature Institute said the planned projects to restore fish, sea turtles, and marine mammals are needed.
"Well, I think it’s great. These are obviously critical species for our gulf ecosystem,” said Fallon.
He said the funds will allow much needed research to take place.
“What we’re seeing with this money is we’re going to be able to study some of those things a lot better. We’re going to help restore populations that could have been damaged during the BP oil or were damaged during the BP oil spill, so it’s great to see this money finally flowing and being able to be used practically to help understand our gulf ecosystem better," said Fallon.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration took part in drawing up the plans.
"That will help address injuries from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill for all six restoration types in the open-ocean restoration area,” said Lauren Rounds of NOAA.
Fallon said any effort to preserve sea life is a step in the right direction.
"Projects that are going to support sea turtles, marine mammal conservation especially hit home for us here at Audubon because we do a lot for protecting sea turtles and marine mammals,” he said.
Corals will get attention, too and Fallon thinks that will be beneficial.
"Well, corals in the Gulf of Mexico, especially, we’re talking about deepwater corals, so on the one hand it’s something that we could understand a lot better, we don’t know a lot about it, so it’s important to us to learn more and about how they impact our ecosystem,” said Fallon. “And also, corals are great building blocks for the ecosystem, they provide a lot of habitat for a lot of species and animals down there.”
The projects will run from two to 15 years.