Public Admin Record

MDBC Habitat Assessment and Evaluation (HAE) Project Records

This is a public repository for the MDBC Habitat Assessment and Evaluation (HAE) Project. This includes documents and products that are pertinent to the HAE Project and stakeholders but are not appropriate for the MDBC Portfolio Deliverables repository, or archives like NCEI and the NOAA Institutional Repository. Project reports and documents are also available on the DWH Restoration Portal project record. Documents and products related to the other project teams (MGM, CPT, and AMP) and Portfolio Deliverables can be accessed by navigating to the DWH MDBC Portfolio Project Page.

About the Habitat Assessment and Evaluation Project [click to display]

The life histories, diversity, and population structures of Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Community (MDBC) species in the Gulf of Mexico are not well understood. The goal of this project is to fill those data gaps, determine baseline conditions and characterize key community conditions at both injured and reference sites. This project will support and inform restoration planning and implementation for MDBC through strategically designed field surveys, with subsequent laboratory-based analyses of MDBC components and interactions. The surveys will yield the types of samples that support determinations of ages, growth rates, and reproductive potential of mesophotic and deep water corals, as well as their health and condition. In addition, the project will maximize the effectiveness of MDBC restoration and protection efforts through the use of population genetic analysis methods. The project results will fill critical gaps in our understanding of the biology, ecology, health, biodiversity, recovery, and resilience of mesophotic and deep-sea habitats (corals and soft sediments) following the Deepwater Horizon spill.

About the MDBC Portfolio [click to display]

In 2016, the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Trustees reached a settlement resulting from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process to resolve BP Exploration and Production’s liability for natural resource injuries caused by the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Part of the settlement requires BP to pay up to $8.8 billion dollars to federal and state trustees for the purposes of restoring natural resources that were injured by the spill, and the services they provided. More details can be found at the Deepwater Horizon NRDA page: A Comprehensive Restoration Plan for the Gulf of Mexico.

The DWH Open Ocean Trustee Implementation Group (OO TIG) includes the four federal Trustee agencies: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI); U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The trustees work together to plan and conduct restoration for species injured by the oil spill, including wide-ranging and migratory species. Questions about the OO TIG can be directed to Additional information can be found in the DWH Administrative Record.

Mesophotic and deep benthic communities (MDBC) are vast and complex ecosystems on the ocean floor that are a foundation of Gulf of Mexico food webs. The MDBC portfolio is a suite of four projects selected by the OO TIG to restore MDBC injured by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The four projects include: Mapping, Ground-truthing, and Predictive Habitat Modeling (MGM), Habitat Assessment and Evaluation (HAE), Coral Propagation Technique Development (CPT), and Active Management and Protection (AMP).