Deepwater Horizon Restoration and Recovery Funds:
How Much, Going Where, For What?

Restoration of the Gulf of Mexico region will take sustained leadership and engagement by multiple stakeholders, and a significant commitment of resources over many years. This is a partnership and a collaboration that requires participation by (and investment from) all parties – federal, state, tribal, and local governments[;] non‐profit organizations; the private sector; academics; and scientists. Together, the region and the nation can build a healthy and resilient Gulf Coast that can meet both this and future challenges. (Mabus Report, p. 47)

Funding White Paper Image





Recovering and restoring the Gulf of Mexico from the injuries caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster is an astoundingly complex undertaking. The ongoing processes to spur the assessment and treatment of various types of harm at various scales of action are accordingly complex.  While it is unknown how much will ultimately be spent to recover the Gulf of Mexico from Deepwater Horizon, restoration and recovery funds are steadily accumulating from the parties responsible for the disaster.

                              Port Aransas, TX. Credit: ELI.

This white paper focuses on the funds that are being distributed to governmental and nongovernmental entities for regional restoration and recovery activities.  It provides background information on the restoration and recovery funds that have been identified and earmarked to date, including where the monies are directed, what they must be used for, and the process for expending them.  It then explores the bigger questions of how these myriad processes fit together and their potential long-term impacts.

The white paper discusses the following restoration and recovery funds:

  • Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund

  • North American Wetlands Conservation Fund</p

  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation</p

  • National Academy of Sciences</p

  • Restoration Trust Fund</p

  • Natural Resource Damage Assessment</p

Partnership and collaboration in the administration of these recovery funds could help build a healthy and resilient Gulf Coast. This white paper is a preliminary effort at understanding the funds and methods of coordination.

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