- Marine mammals and sea turtles
- Fish and shellfish
- Deep water habitat
- Intertidal and near shore subtidal habitats (including sea-grasses, mud flats, coral reefs)
- Shoreline habitats (including salt marsh, beaches, mangroves)
- Terrestrial wildlife and habitat
- Human uses of natural resources (e.g., recreational fishing, boating, shoreline recreation, subsistence, cultural uses, etc.)
This may be accomplished through the implementation by the RP of specific restoration projects or by the payment of money damages to the trustees. The projects, whether performed by the RP or the trustees may include direct restoration or rehabilitation of the injured resources, or replacement or acquisition of resources equivalent to those injured.
The trustees have and will continue to release study plans developed over the course of the spill. The process for development of each plan reflects input and advice from experienced trustee scientists and resource managers as well as leading experts from outside the trustee entities, including scientists who specialize in studying oil spills and natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico. The earliest approved plans are very brief as they were developed quickly to capture immediate, potentially perishable data during an evolving event. The plans also reflect the different nature of resources, data requirements, and associated study methods and techniques. Because study methods used for pre-assessment activities may also be applied in future injury assessment studies, some of the plans provide for both near term and longer term data collection or studies. As data from the studies become available, the trustees may adapt study approaches or methods, or consider conducting additional studies, as needed, to ensure that the impacts of the oil spill can be fully identified and measured. This iterative process is intended to obtain the highest quality scientific information available to determine how much harm to resources has occurred and how much restoration is required.
As permitted under the Oil Pollution Act's NRDA regulations, in some instances BP has been working cooperatively with the trustees to collect pre-assessment data and to conduct NRDA activities. The trustees have afforded BP the opportunity to provide input to the trustees in the development of preassessment study plans and many of the plans have been signed off on by representatives of Trustees and BP. Cooperation facilitates the collection and sharing of reliable data, while allowing all parties to conduct their own analysis and interpretation of that data. Trustees for the Deepwater Horizon spill include agencies or officials of the following:
- State of Louisiana
- State of Mississippi
- State of Alabama
- State of Florida
- State of Texas
- U.S. Department of Commerce, through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- U.S. Department of the Interior, through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Affairs
- U.S. Department of Defense.