Assessing Ecosystem Damage

Florida coastline.

NOAA is the lead agency for the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process helping identify and quantify short- and long-term impacts to the Gulf of Mexico’s thriving ecosystems. NOAA continues to collaborate with various federal and state agencies, industry, and citizens to collect data in the Gulf of Mexico and across the affected states to determine which natural resources have been harmed, which remain in jeopardy and which human uses have been lost. 

Quantifying these impacts is critical to ensuring that there is a true understanding of the extent of the damages.  This information is used to inform the restoration planning process and ensure people are compensated appropriately for losses.

Here’s how:

Testing samples taken from the Gulf of Mexico.

As is the case across the federal government, NOAA will not rest until the oil is cleaned up, the environment is restored, and all those who have been harmed are compensated.

A team from the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology (NIUST) recovers a box corer used to gather sediment samples from the ocean floor.

As stewards of our nation’s coasts, oceans and marine wildlife, NOAA is extremely concerned about the short-term and long-term impacts of the oil spill on the ecological health of the Gulf of Mexico and the nation.