Recovery and Resilience After the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill




An explosion aboard BP’s Deepwater Horizon (DWH) offshore oil rig on April 20, 2010, over 200 million gallons of discharged into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill resulted in anger and fear unlike what Gulf Coast communities have been used to facing with natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Gulf Coast communities faced and uncertain future with questions that needed to be answered. Would oil wash up on the shore? Would seafood be safe to consume? Would there be major fish die off? Would tourism drop?



With active participation from community members and organizations, the Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communities project sought to conduct research to answer questions for the affected communities. Communities involved with the HGHC project stretch along the Florida-Alabama coastline and include communities that were directly and indirectly impacted by oil from the spill. Levy, Dixie, Franklin, Santa Rosa, and Escambia counties in Florida and Baldwin County in Alabama have been the communities most actively involved with the research.


About Healthy Gulf, Healthy Communities

In the aftermath of the spill, our project, HGHC, was established to work with affected communities to develop research initiatives, and provide insight as to how communities were impacted and how they were recovering. Our hope is that this research has been helpful in making community members more aware of how their community was affected as a whole, as well as inform future disaster response efforts in the event of a disaster. Our team of researchers has been led by the University of Florida (UF).

Looking to the Future

Although the NIEHS grant that originally established HGHC has concluded, we know that there is still work to be done to ensure Gulf Coast resilience. This project has evolved to take on other research initiatives for the improvement of Gulf Coast communities. Our researchers have begun work with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH, to research challenges faced by seafood workers and their safety.