The Louisiana Regional Restoration Planning Program
Purpose of Regional Restoration Planning
Improve the efficiency of restoration through a proactive and collaborative planning effort.
Identifying regions within the program will facilitate tracking of cases, settlement accounting, and oversight of assessment and restoration-related activities. The boundaries of the four coastal regions are based on the Coast 2050 Plan regions, and the boundaries of the five inland regions are based on the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) defined watersheds. The role of natural resource trustees is to restore natural resources held in public trust which have been injured by the release of or threat of release of oil, thereby compensating the public for the lost resources and/or services resulting from the incident.
State of Louisiana and federal natural resource trustees have developed a statewide Regional Restoration Planning Program (RRP Program) to assist the natural resource trustees in carrying out their Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) responsibilities for discharges or substantial threats of discharges of oil (referred to as an “incident”). A Regional Restoration Plan (RRP) will be prepared for each of nine regions in the State of Louisiana.
The goals of this statewide RRP Program are to:
- Expedite and reduce the cost of the NRDA process;
- Provide for consistency and predictability by describing in detail the NRDA process, thereby increasing understanding of the process by the public and industry; and
- Increase restoration of lost trust resources and services.
Attainment of these goals will serve to make the NRDA process as a whole more efficient in Louisiana. Furthermore, implementation of the RRP Program will allow the state to better coordinate restoration being conducted through NRDA with other on-going restoration efforts in the State of Louisiana.
The development of the RRP Program has been a coordinated effort between state and federal natural resource agencies, local governments, and the public. The RRP Program is jointly administered and used by the trustees to assist in carrying out their natural resource trust mandates under OPA and OSPRA.
To view a complete list of documents associated with the Louisiana RRP Program Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), please visit the Administrative Record.
RRP Program Summary
The Louisiana RRP Program identifies the statewide program structure, the decision-making process, and the criteria that will be used to select the restoration project(s) that may be implemented to restore the natural resources injured by a given incident. Specifically, the program defines, expands, and/or refines the following important components of the existing NRDA process:
Potentially Injured Resources/Services
The RRP Program defines those trust resources and services in Louisiana that are likely to be or are anticipated to be injured (i.e., at-risk) by incidents as “potentially injured trust resources and services.” Pre-identification of these “potentially injured trust resources and services” will facilitate the development of the RRPs and assist in the coordination of response activities by informing agency personnel who are participating in the incident response (i.e., clean up) of trust resources and services that may be of greatest concern to the trustees. The “potentially injured trust resources and services” are defined under three broad categories: coastal, inland, and statewide.
- Herbaceous Wetlands
- Forested Wetlands
- Oyster Reefs (and Other Reefs)
- Water Column Organisms
- Herbacous Wetlands
- Forested Wetlands
- Upland Vegetation
- Water Column Organisms
- Recreational Resource Services
- Cultural Resource Services
The RRP Program identifies restoration types that are appropriate for the restoration of injuries for each of the identified “potentially injured trust resources and services” in the RRP Program. These restoration type categories are:
Creation/Enhancement of Habitat
- Creation/Enhancement of Coastal Herbaceous Wetlands
- Creation/Enhancement of Coastal Forested Wetlands
- Creation/Enhancement of Coastal Beaches/Shorelines/Streambeds
- Creation/Enhancement of Coastal Oyster Reefs (and Other Reefs)
- Creation/Enhancement of Coastal Submerged Aquatic Vegetation
- Creation/Enhancement of Inland Herbaceous Wetlands
- Creation/Enhancement of Inland Forested Wetlands
- Creation/Enhancement of Inland Upland Vegetation
- Creation/Enhancement of Inland Beaches/Shorelines/Streambeds
Physical Protection of Habitat
- Physical Protection of Inland Herbaceous Wetlands
- Physical Protection of Coastal Forested Wetlands
- Physical Protection of Coastal Beaches/Shorelines/Streambeds
- Physical Protection of Coastal Herbaceous Wetlands
- Physical Protection of Inland Beaches/Shorelines/Streambeds
- Physical Protection of Inland Upland Vegetation
- Physical Protection of Inland Forested Wetlands
Acquisition/Legal Protection of Resources and Services
- Acquisition/Legal Protection of Coastal Herbaceous Wetlands
- Acquisition/Legal Protection of Coastal Forested Wetlands
- Acquisition/Legal Protection of Coastal Beaches/Shorelines/Streambeds
- Acquisition/Legal Protection of Coastal Oyster Reefs (and Other Reefs)
- Acquisition/Legal Protection of Inland Herbaceous Wetlands
- Acquisition/Legal Protection of Inland Forested Wetlands
- Acquisition/Legal Protection of Inland Beaches/Shorelines/Streambeds
- Acquisition/Legal Protection of Inland Upland Vegetation
Stocking of Fauna
- Stocking Coastal Water Column Organisms
- Stocking Oysters (and Other Reef Organisms)
- Stocking Inland Water Column Organisms
- Stocking Birds
- Stocking Wildlife
Physical Protection of Fauna
- Physical Protection of Birds
- Physical Protection of Wildlife
Restoration of Recreational Resource Services
Restoration of Cultural Resource Services
The RRP Program describes the specific restoration type(s) in each restoration type category that is appropriate for the restoration of injuries to each of the identified “potentially injured trust resources and services” in the RRP Program. This determination of the range of appropriate restoration types is based on a nexus analysis. The trustees have also conducted an environmental consequences analysis by evaluating impacts of implementation of restoration techniques on the restoration types. Carrying out both analyses in the FPEIS will result in both technical process and NEPA compliance efficiencies at the case level during the Restoration Planning Phase. The trustees will be able to use relevant analysis and information from the FPEIS and RRPs to produce the incident(s)-specific DARPs and environmental assessments.
The trustees have also developed restoration type selection criteria to assist in determining which of the various restoration types identified is most appropriate to restore the trust resources and services injured during a given incident. It is anticipated that the criteria will also provide a level of predictability to the public and affected parties regarding restoration project selection. Furthermore, projects in each RRP will be classified by restoration type to facilitate the selection of specific restoration projects based on the type of trust resources and services injured. This approach will streamline the process of evaluating and selecting preferred restoration project(s) to be reviewed by the public.
The RRP Program describes a number of additional case settlement alternatives to assist the trustees and RPs in negotiations to resolve RP liabilities for incidents. These additional settlement alternatives generally represent different ways of resolving liability from an incident under one or the other (or both) of the two options: RP-implemented restoration or RP cash settlement and trustee-implemented restoration. These settlement alternatives also may provide opportunities for implementing restoration projects more quickly and cost-effectively, pooling settlements to implement larger projects than could otherwise be accomplished by using individual settlements, and, potentially, facilitating implementation of more ecologically significant projects.
Additional Settlement Alternatives
- RP CO-OP
- RP/Fund CO-OP
In order to improve the consistency, predictability, and accountability of the NRDA decision-making process, the trustees identified and defined project selection and other screening criteria to be used in implementing the Louisiana RRP Program, including:
- Selection of restoration projects to be incorporated into each RRP
- Selection of most appropriate restoration type(s) to restore the injured trust resources and services
in a case
- Project selection screening of specific restoration actions required for a case
Regional Restoration Plans (RRPs)
The RRP Program established nine regions for which regional plans will be developed. There are four coastal regions based on the Coast 2050 Plan regions and five inland regions based on LDEQ’s defined watersheds.
For each region, an individual RRP will be produced. Each RRP identifies the trust resources and services that could potentially be affected by an incident and the restoration alternatives that have been identified to date for implementation within that region.
Regional Boundaries for the RRP Program (Figure/Map) - Click here
State and federal trustees continue to solicit restoration projects for potential inclusion in the nine RRPs. Restoration projects will be included in the Plans based on RRP Program selection criteria. For instructions on how to submit restoration projects, please download the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Restoration Project Information Sheet.
Summary of Program Benefits
The RRP Program, including the RRPs, is intended to benefit the public, industry, and natural resource trustees by:
- Providing greater opportunities to restore injuries to trust resources and services;
- Expediting restoration of injured trust resources and services from incidents;
- Reducing the cost of restoration planning and implementation;
- Pooling of individual case recoveries to maximize opportunities for implementation of larger, more ecologically significant restoration projects;
- Providing for more consistency and predictability by describing in detail the NRDA process, thereby increasing the understanding of that process by the public and industry;
- Improving coordination between restoration activities under the NRDA mandates and other restoration efforts in the state;
- Enhancing the capability for trustees to restore trust resources and services injured by incidents for which there is no viable RP;
- Maximizing opportunities for partnering among RPs, trustees, and other public and private restoration efforts; and
- Increasing opportunity for public participation in the NRDA process through pre-incident planning.
The trustees will periodically review the implementation of the RRP Program in the context of the benefits described above, in order to identify opportunities for improvement. In addition, the trustees are committed to identifying, developing, and using innovative operational tools and methods that will achieve the intended benefits of the RRP Program.
Opportunities for public involvement will continue to be provided throughout the development of the remaining RRPs and implementation of the RRP Program
U.S. Department of Commerce(USDOC)/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
U.S. Department of the Interior (USDOI)
Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ)
Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR)
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF)
NOAA Damage Assessment and Restoration Program
RRP Program FPEIS
Region 2 Plan
Project Submittal Form (from DWH site)