Toxic chemicals associated with the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill may be linked to continued problems growing oysters in Louisiana waters as well as the deaths of hundreds of bottlenosed dolphins and thousands of sea turtles and migratory waterfowl, according to an environmental assessment released Friday.
The assessment also says tiny organisms living in deep water in the Gulf and killed off by the oil spill may continue to affect commercial fisheries, The Times-Picayune reports.
Also on Friday, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and spill trustees released a draft plan for spending $627 million on 44 restoration projects across Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Texas.
The 44 projects are part of the agreement with BP to provide $1 billion for Gulf Coast restoration prior to completion of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment. Ecological projects — such as restoration of marshes, barrier islands, dunes, shorelines and oyster beds — comprise about $397 million, or 63 percent of the total. Recreational use projects make up the remaining $230 million.
BP’s Macondo well spilled millions of barrels of oil in the Gulf in 2010. Since the spill, federal and state agencies as well as BP have collected more than 2.3 million lines of water chemistry data, the first release of which was published last month.