The Minerals Management Service (MMS) develops and includes mitigative measures or reminders of lease stipulations in the environmental documents that are prepared to assess the effects of proposed oil and gas activities in the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Region. At present, the MMS imposes certain mitigative measures in environmental documents, primarily Categorical Exclusion Reviews (CERs) and Environmental Assessments (EAs), to minimize or preclude impacts from proposed operations. In 1997, MMS instituted a Seafloor Monitoring Program to verify industry compliance with environmental mitigative measures and to ensure protection of significant seafloor habitats and archaeological properties. The Monitoring Program is twofold. First, it requires operators to demonstrate compliance with avoidance requirements by providing "as-built" maps showing anchor locations with their construction reports. Secondly, field checking by MMS personnel using high-resolution side-scan sonar and/or MMS divers verifies that protected features were avoided.

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