Gulf Restoration

Deepwater Horizon Project Tracker (under development)GOMA Projects Website

Click here to visit the comprehensive restoration and recovery project tracker to access maps and key information about projects funded through the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlements. The DWH Project Tracker is currently under development and will soon have the ability to search using key words and produce custom reports. Download an overview  of the tool.

Many members of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance are involved in the unprecedented restoration efforts resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Below is a brief summary.

Natural Resource Damage Assessment Gulf Restoration Council Draft Initial Comprehensive Plan 5.23.15(1)_Page_01

State and Federal Trustees are undertaking restoration scoping process for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The process will allow the Trustees to take a comprehensive look at the types of restoration that may be required to offset potential impacts from the spill on habitat, fish, wildlife and human use of those resources. The Co-Trustees include five Federal agencies (Department of Commerce – NOAA, Department of the Interior, Department of Defense, EPA and Department of Agriculture) and the five Gulf States (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas).

As part of Phases I and II of Early Restoration, 10 projects have been funded to date. In June 2014, NRDA Trustees released, “Assess Plan Restore” – a guide to projects and planning contained in the final Phase III Early Restoration Plan and Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. More information can be found here: Gulf Spill Restoration/NOAA.

RESTORE Act TOC_RESTORE_ACT_flow_chart[1]

In July 2012, the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) was passed into law. The Act establishes a new Trust Fund in the Treasury of the United States, known as the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, which will receive 80% of the civil penalties paid after July 6, 2012, under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Under the Act, amounts in the Trust Fund will be available for programs, projects, and activities that restore and protect the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast region.

Treasure Reg 2014-19324_Page_01The much anticipated U.S. Treasury Department rules were released August 13, 2014. This allows for Gulf Coast states and municipalities to receive funding for environmental restoration and economic development projects. The Interim Final Rule outlines grant programs for Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas that were established by the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States (RESTORE) Act.

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council: Section 1603 of the RESTORE Act established the Council, which is comprised of the Governors of the five Gulf Coast States and Cabinet-level officials from six federal agencies. The Council will receive 30% of the RESTORE Act Trust Funds. In August, the Council released its Draft Initial Comprehensive Plan. Public engagement meetings have taken place in all five Gulf States. To review the Comprehensive Plan and to make comments, click here. In July 2014, the Gulf Restoration Council approved a proposal submission and evaluation process for restoration activities. Fact sheets and additional information were made available on RestoreTheGulf.org. The Council is currently seeking subject matter experts to serve as reviewers of restoration proposals in FY15. Deadline to submit a Restore Reviewer application is extended to October 17, 2014.

Gulf States: In addition to being members of the Restoration Council, the five Gulf States will receive individual portions of the RESTORE Act Trust Funds. Section 1601 of the RESTORE Act evenly divides 35% of the Trust Funds among the five Gulf States, while Section 1602 distributes 30% of the Trust Funds to the Gulf States based on a damage and population formula. Each state is approaching comprehensive restoration and recovery efforts in a different manner:

Alabama:The Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) is a 10-member council comprised of state and local officials, created with the passage of the RESTORE Act in 2012. The AGCRC adopted a Strategy Map and tapped ADCNR to serve as administrator. For additional information on the AGCRC, visit restorealabama.org. To learn about other state-specific restoration activities, including NRDA, NFWF and AGCRC, visit www.alabamacoastalrestoration.org.

Mississippi: The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) developed GoCoast 2020 with vast stakeholder input. GoCoast 2020 provides recommendations for restoration initiatives to make Mississippi whole. MDEQ created a state-of-the-art online program for submission of project ideas for consideration across all funding sources, including RESTORE, NRDA, and NFWF. A Project Map web site is available to view ideas submitted to date. Visit www.restore.ms to learn more or to submit project ideas.

Florida: The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the lead agency for responding to impacts and the resulting restoration process. For information about restoration in Florida, including projects funded by RESTORE Act, NRDA and NFWF, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon. An online map tool is available to search funded projects.

Louisiana: Restoration in Louisiana will be conducted according to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan, which is based on a two year analysis involving some of the state’s best scientists as well as national and international specialists. The state used this analysis to select 109 high performing projects that could deliver measurable benefits to our communities and coastal ecosystem over the coming decades. Information on Louisiana’s restoration efforts can be found by visiting CPRA’s site. Information on Louisiana’s NRDA restoration can be found here.

Texas: Restore the Texas Coast is the Texas website source of information for coastal restoration funding from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A project submission portal is available.

RESTOREScienceProgramFramework_Final_2013_12.pdfʢ__U_T.R__Page_01NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program: Under Section 1604 of the RESTORE Act, 2.5% of the Clean Water Act fines will be dedicated to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Observations, Monitoring and Technology Program (a.k.a.: NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program). NOAA released its RESTORE Act Science Program Framework. The Framework communicates NOAA’s intent, purpose and rationale for how it will execute the Program according to its responsibilities under the RESTORE Act. It will inform the Program’s short-term priorities and provide the foundation for a robust Science Plan. For more information and the recent announcement visit the NOAA RESTORE Science Program site.

Research Centers of Excellence: Under Section 1605 of the RESTORE Act, 2.5% of the Clean Water Act fines levied for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are to be contributed to the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, and dedicated to Research Centers of Excellence in each of the five Gulf States.

National Academy of Sciences’ Gulf Research Program

As part of the legal settlements with companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the National Academy of Sciences has established a 30-year research program focused on the human health, environmental protection, and oil system safety in the Gulf of Mexico. Program planning is being conducted by an appointed Advisory Group who has just released, “Gulf Research Program: A Strategic Vision.” Information about the NAS Gulf Research Program can be found at NAS’ Gulf Research Program site.

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund

As part of the criminal plea agreements with companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will establish the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund to fund projects benefiting the natural resources of the Gulf Coast that were impacted by the spill. NFWF intends to work in conjunction with the Gulf States to identify projects in the states that will remedy harm and eliminate or reduce future harm to natural resources.

In November 2013, NFWF announced the award of more than $100 million from its Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund to 22 projects in the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more information go to NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund.

National American Wetlands Conservation Act Fund

As part of the criminal plea agreement involving the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the National American Wetlands Conservation Act Fund will receive $100,000,000 for the purpose of wetlands restoration and conservation benefiting migratory bird species and other wildlife affected by the oil spill. More information can be found at the NAWCA’s Gulf Restoration site.