The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill initiated one of the largest rapid environmental assessments undertaken for the Gulf of Mexico. Government agencies and BP collected data through the Deepwater Horizon Response and Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process. Government NRDA data are available to the public through the DIVER system. Now, recently released BP NRDA data are available through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information & Data Cooperative or GRIIDC, managed by Harte Research Institute.
The NRDA process was required to direct cleanup efforts and evaluate the potential impacts of the oil spill. In 2013, BP began to release some of the NRDA information to the general public through an online portal. The organized spill data were in ten categories: oil, water, air, offshore sediments, aquatic biology, birds, shoreline, marine mammals and sea turtles, environmental toxicology and other data. Supplemental information available through the portal provided additional details about how, why, and where data were collected.
On May 24, 2010, shortly after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, BP announced a commitment of up to $500 million over ten years to fund an independent research program designed to study the impact of the oil spill and its associated response on the environment and public health in the Gulf of Mexico. As part of the first year’s funding, five initial commissioned studies established critical baseline data as the foundation for subsequent research. In 2011, BP contracted with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance to initiate future studies as part of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) program. This rigorous scientific program, working with a diverse suite of regional to international experts, established a data management system to ensure a data legacy related to the oil spill. GRIIDC created a data discovery portal that allows scientists, policymakers, and the general public access to data collected from oil spill research.
In September 2016, BP transferred its NRDA dataset to GoMRI for incorporation within GRIIDC. The data were merged through GRIIDC’s online portal to provide the data in a format more comparable to the to the sourcing of GoMRI information. Now, the organized BP datasets sort into 28 distinct groups, each with standard descriptive metadata to improve the ability of users to find, understand, and potentially reuse data. When applicable, the data package includes the supplemental information that was available through the BP portal.
No GRIIDC account is required to access these data. Individuals outside of the GoMRI network can use a Google Account to download data files. Signing up for a Google Account is free and open to the public. No sign-in is required to use the data discovery portal to find data, or view and download metadata files.
Today, GRIIDC has an impressive 1350 datasets. The addition of BP datasets to the GRIIDC collection creates a more robust and complete data catalog for stakeholders to understand the impacts of oil spills and Gulf of Mexico ecosystems.
Access GRIIDC online: https://data.gulfresearchinitiative.org/.