The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster 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 U.S. history. Scientists made 20,000 trips to the field to obtain 100,000 environmental samples that yielded 15 million records.
Scientific studies helped the entire scientific community understand the effects of oil spills on nature and our communities. Natural resources that were damaged include reduced plant cover and vegetation along 350 to 720 miles of shoreline, 51,000 to 84,000 birds killed, up to 51 percent decrease in Barataria Bay dolphin population, and $527 - $859 million in lost recreation such as boating, fishing and beachgoing.
As of mid-2017, over 110 peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as all the data collected for the studies, are available to the public and the scientific community. Additionally, NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Gulf of Mexico ERMA® allows anyone to download the data from a scientific study, and then see that data on a map.