SOURCE: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

November 15, 2016 13:00 ET

NFWF Approves Nearly $370 Million for New Restoration Projects on the Gulf Coast

Fourth Round of Grants from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - November 15, 2016) - The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced that is has approved nearly $370 million from its Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) to fund 24 projects in the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. The projects, developed in consultation with state and federal resource agencies, are designed to remedy harm and reduce the risk of future harm to natural resources that were affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Today's announcement represents the fourth year of approved funding from the payments received thus far by the GEBF. With today's announcement, NFWF has approved the award of over $870 million for projects across the five Gulf States.

"The projects we announce today include significant investments to advance sediment diversions along the Lower Mississippi River that will build, sustain and maintain thousands of acres of wetlands in Louisiana," said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. "In addition, the new projects will protect critical coastal habitat, while bolstering populations of Gulf Coast birds, sea turtles, marine mammals and other fish and wildlife species that were injured as a result of the spill."

NFWF created the GEBF in 2012 to receive and administer funds resulting from remedial orders arising from the plea agreements between the U.S. Department of Justice and BP and Transocean. The plea agreements resolved certain criminal charges against both companies relating to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Provisions within the agreements direct a total of $2.544 billion to NFWF over a five-year period to be used to support natural resource benefit projects in the Gulf States.

As required under the plea agreements, NFWF consulted with state resource agencies, as well as with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to identify potential project priorities and funding needs. The discussions ensured coordination between NFWF's GEBF and the agencies' related activities under the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and RESTORE Act programs.

"Our nation's Gulf Coast encompasses some of the most unique and irreplaceable wildlife habitat in the world - 33 major river systems and more than 200 estuaries culminate here, providing food and shelter for hundreds of native species of birds, fish and other wildlife and plants," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. "The Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund plays a crucial role in helping the Service and its partners address the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and restore the health of the Gulf for the wildlife and people who share this incredible place."

"This new round of funding will continue the significant progress countless groups have made toward restoring the Gulf following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill," said Kathryn D. Sullivan, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "Using the best available science and data, our efforts are paying off to restore wildlife, habitat, and marine resources for future generations."

The GEBF projects announced today will complement those previously announced or currently under consideration by the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and RESTORE Act programs. Collectively, and where appropriate, these efforts are being coordinated and leveraged to advance large-scale Gulf Coast conservation outcomes and maximize sustainable environmental benefits.

NFWF, a congressionally chartered nonprofit corporation, is one of the largest conservation funders in the United States. It is subject to oversight by Congress and a board of directors that includes the heads of the FWS and NOAA, as well as representatives from states, non-governmental organizations and industry. The board is appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.

For additional information on state-specific projects, please see below:

ALABAMA

The NFWF Board of Directors approved the award of more than $63 million for six projects in the state of Alabama. The Alabama projects address high-priority conservation needs, including the acquisition and restoration of significant coastal habitats in key focal areas, and the continuation of fisheries monitoring. For additional information on GEBF projects in Alabama, please click here.

The number of projects approved for funding from the GEBF in the state of Alabama now stands at 19, with a total value of more than $115 million. All projects were selected for funding following extensive consultation with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, FWS and NOAA.

FLORIDA

The NFWF Board of Directors approved the award of more than $32 million for four projects in the state of Florida. The Florida projects address high-priority restoration and conservation needs, including the continuation of fisheries monitoring, an expansion of shorebird restoration activities, enhancement to sea turtle stranding response capacity, and oyster reef restoration in the Big Bend. For additional information on GEBF projects in Florida, please click here.

The number of projects approved for funding from the GEBF in the state of Florida now stands at 25, with a total value of more than $100 million. All projects were selected for funding following extensive consultation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, FWS and NOAA.

LOUISIANA

The NFWF Board of Directors approved the award of more than $245 million for five projects in the state of Louisiana. New projects include the engineering and design of two major sediment diversions along the Lower Mississippi River that, once constructed, will restore and protect thousands of acres of vulnerable coastal wetlands in Louisiana. Construction on these major coastal restoration projects is estimated to begin as early as 2021. Louisiana also will advance engineering and design on a freshwater diversion of the Atchafalaya River to protect marshes in the upper part of Terrebonne Parish Louisiana. The state also will continue its effort to adaptively manage these critical coastal restoration projects. For additional information on Louisiana projects, click here.

The number of projects approved for funding from the GEBF in the state of Louisiana now stands at 12, with a total value of more than $465 million. All projects were selected for funding following extensive consultation with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, FWS and NOAA.

MISSISSIPPI

The NFWF Board of Directors approved the award of more than $16.2 million for two projects in the state of Mississippi. The Mississippi projects address high-priority conservation needs, including an expansion of a coastal bird stewardship and monitoring program, and the advancement of marine mammal and sea turtle conservation. For additional information on GEBF projects in Mississippi, please click here.

The total number of projects approved for funding from the GEBF in the state of Mississippi now stands at 14, with a total value of more than $100 million. All projects were selected for funding following extensive consultation with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, FWS and NOAA.

TEXAS

The NFWF Board of Directors approved the award of nearly $12 million for seven projects in the state of Texas. The Texas projects address high-priority conservation needs, including the acquisition of significant coastal habitat, protection of critical stretches of shoreline, enhancement of rookery habitats, and hydrologic restoration of vital coastal wetland habitat. For additional information on GEBF projects in Texas, please click here.

The total number of projects approved for funding from the GEBF in the state of Texas now stands at 29, with a total value of more than $82 million. All projects were selected for funding following extensive consultation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas General Lands Office, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, FWS and NOAA.

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores our nation's wildlife and habitats. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private contributions. NFWF works with government, nonprofit and corporate partners to find solutions for the most intractable conservation challenges. Over the last three decades, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and committed more than $3.5 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at nfwf.org.

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Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Rob Blumenthal
    NFWF
    202-857-0166