A view of response ships at the source of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a month after the rig exploded and sank, tragically claiming the lives of 11 people. (NOAA)

A view of response ships at the source of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a month after the rig exploded and sank, tragically claiming the lives of 11 people. (NOAA)

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon Macondo oil well drilling platform tragically killed 11 workers, and started the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history, releasing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA was on the scene from the earliest moments of the crisis, bringing more than 25 years of experience protecting and restoring our coasts from oil spills.

As the lead science agency for coastal oil spills, NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration provided mission-critical information to guide the emergency response, the natural resources damage assessment and the restoration plan. NOAA scientists continue their commitment to the Gulf as we report on the short and long term effects to the fish, wildlife and habitat injured by the spill, as well as the lost recreational use along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, and Florida.

On April 4, 2016, the court approved a settlement with BP for natural resource injuries stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This settlement concludes the largest natural resource damage assessment ever undertaken.

We will now begin implementing restoration as laid out in the Trustees' comprehensive restoration plan. Under this settlement, BP will pay the Trustees up to $8.8 billion for restoration to address natural resources injuries and lost recreational uses. Follow restoration projects in each Gulf state.

Find more information on the Natural Resource Damage Assessment from the Deepwater Horizon Trustee Council and access NOAA data and information related to the spill, including science studies about the long term environmental impacts.

Published: 03/27/15

Five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we are looking at various topics related to the response, the Natural Resource Damage Assessment science, restoration efforts, and the future of the Gulf of Mexico.

First, take a look at the complex science behind answering what seems like a simple question during oil spills: Where will the oil go?

Published: 03/25/15

A number of studies to understand impacts on bottlenose dolphins have been conducted over the past five years since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The studies have included recovery of dead stranded dolphins and analysis of their tissues, as well as photographic monitoring, remote tissue sampling, and even capture-release health assessments of live dolphins.

Published: 03/27/17

April 4, 2017 - The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster spread spilled oil deep into the ocean’s depths and along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, compromising the complex ecosystem and local economies. The response and the natural resources damage assessment were the largest in the nation’s history.

Published: 03/29/17

April 3, 2017 - Deepwater Horizon was the largest offshore oil spill in the nation’s history, requiring the largest response effort, largest natural resources damage assessment ever conducted, and the largest civil settlement with a single entity in federal history. We explore the work of NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration and partners in responding to the spill and what was learned.

Published: 01/20/17

By Tara Skelton, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium

Jan. 25, 2017 - Ever wonder about mental health issues in communities recovering from a man-made disaster?

Published: 11/21/16

Nov. 23, 2016 -- The 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon Macondo oil well drilling platform triggered a massive oil release polluting over 1,300 miles of shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. The harm from the spill to coastal salt marsh habitat was extensive, and in some instances, permanent.

Published: 03/30/17

April 5, 2017 - Federal and state agencies worked quickly to scale up the emergency response, clean up the spill, mount a large-scale effort to assess the injuries to wildlife and other natural resources, and record how these lost resources adversely affected the public. When the cleanup was finished, and the injuries were determined, another challenge came: NOAA and other agencies had to close down the largest damage assessment field operation in the nation’s history.