By JANET McCONNAUGHEY Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Federal agencies have approved nearly $226 million for 18 projects to restore open ocean in the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 BP oil spill.
The projects range from $52.6 million to study deep-sea habitats to $290,000 to find ways to keep sea turtles from swallowing or getting snagged on hooks set out on lines that stretch for miles along reefs.
They are described in a 490-page report released Tuesday.
The nonprofit Ocean Conservancy said it’s “the world’s first plan to restore the open ocean and deep-sea environment from a major oil disaster.”
“Ocean Conservancy welcomes this major conservation milestone for the Gulf of Mexico,” CEO Janis Searles Jones said in a news release.
The explosion April 20, 2010, on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers. The well spewed 210 million gallons (795 million liters) of oil before it was capped 87 days later.
The open ocean recovery plan was drawn up by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with help from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The money is from BP’s $8.8 billion settlement for natural resources damage, said NOAA Deepwater Horizon program manager Rachel Sweeney.
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