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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration: A Gulf Research Program Environmental Monitoring Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26335.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration: A Gulf Research Program Environmental Monitoring Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26335.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration: A Gulf Research Program Environmental Monitoring Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26335.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration: A Gulf Research Program Environmental Monitoring Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26335.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration: A Gulf Research Program Environmental Monitoring Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26335.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration: A Gulf Research Program Environmental Monitoring Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26335.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration: A Gulf Research Program Environmental Monitoring Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26335.
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Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration: A Gulf Research Program Environmental Monitoring Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26335.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration: A Gulf Research Program Environmental Monitoring Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26335.
×
PageR9
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration: A Gulf Research Program Environmental Monitoring Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26335.
×
PageR10
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration: A Gulf Research Program Environmental Monitoring Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26335.
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PageR11
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration: A Gulf Research Program Environmental Monitoring Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26335.
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Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Committee on Long-Term Environmental Trends in the Gulf of Mexico The Gulf Research Program A Consensus Study Report of Prepublication Version - Subject to further editorial revision

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 This activity was supported by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-XXXXX-X International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-XXXXX-X Digital Object Identifier: https://doi.org/10.17226/26335 Additional copies of this publication are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap. edu. Cover Image: Researcher working in a marsh in Mobile Bay, Alabama, courtesy of Bethany Carl Kraft. Copyright 2022 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration: A Gulf Research Program Environmental Monitoring Report, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26335. Prepublication Version - Subject to further editorial revision

The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the na- tion on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the na- tion. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contri- butions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.nationalacademies.org. Prepublication Version - Subject to further editorial revision

Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineer- ing, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, con- clusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and inde- pendent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task. Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Med- icine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies. For information about other products and activities of the National Academies, please visit www.nationalacademies.org/about/whatwedo. Prepublication Version - Subject to further editorial revision

COMMITTEE ON LONG-TERM ENVIRONMENTAL TRENDS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO HOLLY GREENING (Chair), CoastWise Partners WALTER R. BOYNTON, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland HEIDA L. DIEFENDERFER, Coastal Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory ALBERT A. GEORGE II, South Carolina Aquarium KENNETH L. HECK, JR., Dauphin Island Sea Lab and University of South Alabama BARBARA A. KLEISS, Department of River-Coastal Science and Engineering, Tulane University CATHERINE L. KLING (NAS1), Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University BETHANY A. CARL KRAFT, Volkert, Inc. LARRY D. MCKINNEY, Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, Texas A&M University DEEPAK R. MISHRA, Department of Geography, University of Georgia KODI GUILLORY, Sustainable Design Solutions2 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Staff DEBORAH GLICKSON, Director, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources and Water Science and Technology Board LAURA WINDECKER, Program Officer, Gulf Research Program MEGAN MAY, Associate Program Officer, Ocean Studies Board (until January 2022) THELMA COX, Program Coordinator, Gulf Research Program 1 National Academy of Sciences. 2 Resigned from the committee in October 2020. v Prepublication Version - Subject to further editorial revision

GULF RESEARCH PROGRAM Division Committee DAVID E. DANIEL (NAE1), Division Chair, University of Texas at Dallas R. LYN ARSCOTT (NAE), International Association of Oil Gas Producers (Retired) REGINA M. BENJAMIN (NAM2), Gulf States Health Policy Center THOMAS P. BOSTICK (NAE), Bostick Global Strategies VADM MANSON K. BROWN, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired) BARBARA ENTWISLE, University of North Carolina MARY L. LANDRIEU, Van Ness Feldman LLP KERSTIN A. LEHNERT, Columbia University MONICA MASON, Core Specialty Insurance SARA N. ORTWEIN, (NAE), Exxon Mobil Corporation (Retired) AMELIE G. RAMIREZ (NAM), Salud America!, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio FRANCIS K. WIESE, Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. ROY E. WRIGHT, Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety LAUREN ALEXANDER AUGUSTINE, Division Executive Director, Gulf Research Program Gulf Environmental Protection and Stewardship Board Staff DONALD BOESCH, Senior Scholar LAURA WINDECKER, Program Officer MEGHA KHADKA, Research Associate 1 National Academy of Engineering. 2 National Academy of Medicine. vi Prepublication Version - Subject to further editorial revision

Reviewers This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse per- spectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Marcus Beck, Tampa Bay Estuary Program Kim de Mutsert, University of Southern Mississippi Judy Haner, The Nature Conservancy Heidi Nepf, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Gregory Steyer, U.S. Geological Survey Paul Tschirky, APTIM Corp. Robert Twilley, Louisiana State University Stephen Polasky (NAS1), University of Minnesota Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the content of the report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Barbara Schaal (NAS), Washington University in St. Louis, and John Boland, Johns Hopkins University. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies. 1 National Academy of Sciences. vii Prepublication Version - Subject to further editorial revision

Preface On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM), resulting in the tragic loss of 11 lives and the discharge of at least 3 million barrels of oil. Oil reached over 2,100 km of coastline Gulf-wide and impacted all five U.S. GoM states. The resulting civil and criminal litigation from the DWH oil spill led to over $16 billion in fines and penalties to be applied to econom- ic recovery and environmental restoration-related activities in the GoM region. Funds are administered through three major programs: the DWH Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustee Council, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (NFWF GEBF), and Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (commonly known as the RESTORE Council). As part of multiple legal settlements, the federal government requested that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) establish the Gulf Research Program (GRP) to fund and conduct activities to ad- vance three program areas: offshore energy safety; health and resilience; and environmental protection and stewardship. The goals of the restoration activities are broader than recovery from the oil spill impacts alone, en- compassing land acquisition; restoration of coastal and offshore habitats and the Gulf ecosystem; recovery of species; and water quality improvement. More than 10 years after the DWH explosion the Gulf Coast continues to recover from the impacts of the oil spill, and a multitude of academic studies, agency reports, and nongovernmental organizations assessments track ongoing impacts and the effects of recovery efforts. The tracking process is complicated by the presence of long-term background trends, such as those associ- ated with climate change and land-use changes, which can obscure the effects of the spill and subsequent restoration efforts. In early 2020 GRP initiated this study, which is intended to be the first study in a series on environmen- tal protection and stewardship. The study series is focused on long-term environmental trends in the GoM and is intended to advance GRP’s strategic approach to monitor progress and change and document how environmental conditions in the GoM evolve over time. This report addresses monitoring and assessment of the cumulative effects of GoM restoration projects beyond the project scale within the context of long-term environmental change. The study scope builds on the results from research results and publications from many sources, including the previous NASEM reports Effective Monitoring to Evaluate Ecological Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico; Understanding the Long-Term Evolution of the Coupled Natural-Human System: The Future of the U.S. Gulf Coast; and the Progress toward Restoring the Everglades report series. The committee’s 10 mem- bers brought to the study expertise in a variety of fields, including ecosystem restoration and cumulative effects assessment, natural resource management and policy, coastal ecosystem ecology, remote sensing and emerging technologies, river science and engineering, and data synthesis and modeling. ix Prepublication Version - Subject to further editorial revision

x An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration The study scope was broadly defined, with an option of focusing on restoration projects within a geo- graphic region to keep the scope manageable. After deliberation, the committee decided that the geograph- ic scope should include all five U.S. Gulf states, with a focus on assessing the cumulative effects of land- scape-scale efforts encompassing multiple restoration projects in coastal areas. The committee strived to reach a broad audience, including regional program managers, state resource managers, federal agencies, and other Gulf-wide entities with an interest in restoration. Entities particularly positioned to consider the recommendations of this report include those entities funded by the DWH settlements and agreements. The committee held four information-gathering meetings in 2020 and multiple meetings in closed ses- sion in 2021 to develop this report. All meetings and discussions were held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee members heard presentations from representatives from state and federal agen- cies, nonprofit organizations, and academia. Speakers shared their knowledge and expertise in GoM envi- ronmental trends, restoration, ecology, and DWH settlement-funded restoration programs. Throughout 18 months of deliberations, the committee developed an increasing sense of urgency to en- courage the synthesis of data and information already collected and use that information to inform future DWH settlement-funded restoration efforts. The DWH Project Tracker website reports that more than 570 environmental restoration projects have been completed or are underway, including 152 focused on hab- itat restoration and enhancement, 82 on species restoration, and 47 focused on water quality restoration and maintenance. With committed and expended DWH settlement recovery funds approaching half of the total amount available, and data and information from completed restoration projects becoming available, synthesis and analysis of successful and (especially) less successful efforts is both timely and essential to en- sure effective restoration efforts and wise use of the remaining restoration funds. The committee members recognize the challenges facing the Gulf Coast environmental restoration community (several from personal experience), not just recovery from the DWH oil spill but multiple hurricanes and other climatic events. I continue to be amazed at the Gulf Coast communities’ hard work and resiliency in making progress on the recovery efforts in the face of these difficult conditions. Our conclusions and recommendations are provid- ed to assist in supporting successful restoration efforts now and in the future. This report is the result of the collective expertise and experience of some of the nation’s leading experts in environmental restoration theory and application. I want to express my deep appreciation to every mem- ber of the committee for their insight and expertise, as well as their humor, collegiality, and commitment to our collective effort. Consensus is not easy, and all have contributed to ensuring a strong and consistent message. Thank you. On behalf of the entire committee, kudos to our outstanding National Academies staff for their excellent support, guidance, and contributions to the report. Study Directors Laura Windecker (Gulf Research Pro- gram), Deborah Glickson (Board on Earth Sciences and Resources/Water Science and Technology Board), and Megan May (Ocean Studies Board) as well as Program Coordinator Thelma L. Cox (Gulf Research Program) were instrumental in coordinating and guiding the committee’s progress throughout and in pro- ducing the final report. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with such a professional and dedicated team. Holly Greening, Chair Committee on Long-Term Environmental Trends in the Gulf of Mexico Prepublication Version - Subject to further editorial revision

Contents SUMMARY................................................................................................................................................................................. 1 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................................................11 The Gulf of Mexico, 11 The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Resulting Settlements and Agreements, 11 DWH Restoration Activities, 13 Study Origin and Related Activities, 13 About This Report, 14 Audience, 14 Study Scope and Approach, 14 2 ENVIRONMENTAL TRENDS AND INDICATORS.................................................................................17 Introduction, 17 Climate Change Influences on Long-Term Environmental Change, 18 Water, Nutrient, and Suspended Sediment Inflow Trends, 30 Ambient Water Quality of Estuarine and Coastal Receiving Waters, 34 Other Significant Gulf of Mexico Environmental Trends, 39 Summary Table of Trends and Their Implications for Restoration Decision-Making, 51 3 ASSESSING CUMULATIVE EFFECTS OF RESTORATION: CURRENT AND EMERGING APPROACHES...........................................................................................59 Introduction, 59 Antagonism and Synergism in Restoration Efforts, 61 Assessing the Cumulative Effects of Restoration, 64 The Role of Conceptual Models in Developing Hypotheses, 70 An Approach for Considering the Consequences of Large-Scale Restoration, 72 Tools for Gathering Multiple Lines of Evidence, 75 Reflections on Restoration Planning and Endpoints, 82 Case Study of Cumulative Effects in the Annualy Recurring Hypoxic Zone in the Gulf of Mexico, 85 Additional Thoughts, 87 4 APPLICATION OF SYNTHESIS AND CUMULATIVE EFFECTS ASSESSMENT IN THE GULF OF MEXICO...............................................................................................................................89 Introduction, 89 Key Considerations and Information for Gulf Coast Cumulative Effects Assessment, 90 Prior Assessments of the Cumulative Effects of Ecosystem Restoration and Management in the Gulf of Mexico, 91 Meeting the Challenges of Gulf Coast Scale Assessment, 101 Using an Adaptive Management Approach to Assess Cumulative Effects, 107 xi Prepublication Version - Subject to further editorial revision

xii An Approach for Assessing U.S. Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration An Example of Gulf-Wide Synthesis, 108 Integrating Cumulative Effects and Adaptive Management into Restoration: Next Steps, 109 5 MOVING FORWARD ....................................................................................................................................... 113 Introduction, 113 Data Resources for Assessing Long-Term Environmental Trends, 114 Key Metrics Necessary for Assessment Beyond the Project Level, 122 Program Level Adaptive Management Strategies, 127 The Importance of Synthesis for Adaptive Management and Cumulative Effects Assessments, 129 Final Thoughts, 133 Conclusions and Recommendations, 135 REFERENCES...................................................................................................................................................................... 139 APPENDIXES A Distribution and Status of Funds Derived from Deepwater Horizon–Related Settlements........ 185 B Committee Member and Staff Biographies ................................................................................................ 187 C People Who Provided Input to the Committee........................................................................................... 193 Prepublication Version - Subject to further editorial revision

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Valued for its ecological richness and economic value, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico is under substantial pressure from human activities. The Deepwater Horizon platform explosion and oil spill significantly damaged Gulf ecosystems and led to the largest ecological restoration investment in history. The unprecedented number and diversity of restoration activities provide valuable information for future restoration efforts, but assessment efforts are hampered by many factors, including the need to evaluate the interaction of multiple stressors and consider long-term environmental trends such as sea level rise, increasing hurricane intensity, and rising water temperatures.

This report offers a comprehensive approach to assess restoration activities beyond the project scale in the face of a changing environment. A main component of this approach is using different types of scientific evidence to develop "multiple lines of evidence" to evaluate restoration efforts at regional scales and beyond, especially for projects that may be mutually reinforcing (synergistic) or in conflict (antagonistic). Because Gulf of Mexico ecosystems cross political boundaries, increased coordination and collaboration is needed, especially to develop standardized data collection, analysis, synthesis, and reporting. With these improvements, program-level adaptive management approaches can be used more effectively to assess restoration strategies against the backdrop of long-term environmental trends.

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