Expert Report

Effective Monitoring to Evaluate Ecological Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico (2016)

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A tremendous number of restoration projects are planned and underway in the Gulf of Mexico to help mitigate damage done by the 2010 Macondo Well Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In order to ensure that restoration goals are met and money is well spent, restoration monitoring and evaluation should be an integral part of those projects. However, evaluations of past restoration efforts have shown that monitoring is often inadequate or even absent. This report explains the value of monitoring restoration activities and lays out essential elements for effective monitoring. The report offers specific guidance for a subset of habitats and taxa to be restored in the Gulf including oyster reefs, tidal wetlands, and seagrass habitats, as well as a variety of birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals.