More Than $100 Million Approved for Restoration Projects on the Gulf Coast

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced the award of more than $101.5 million from its Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) to 19 projects and several amendments to previously announced 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 fifth round of awards from the payments received thus far by the GEBF. To date, the fund has received $1.65 billion. With today’s announcement, NFWF has awarded nearly $1 billion, or more than 50 percent of available funds. Included in the 2017 project slate are additional awards to existing projects that address important unanticipated needs, as well as awards to significant new projects, many of which build on earlier planning, engineering and design investments. 

“The awards we announce today represent our fifth round of obligations from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, and include important investments to protect and restore species and habitats impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Investments made under the GEBF continue to protect and enhance critical coastal habitats, while bolstering populations of Gulf Coast birds, marine mammals and sea turtles, and other fish and wildlife species affected by the oil spill.”

NFWF created the GEBF in 2013 to receive and administer funds resulting from remedial orders in 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 oil spill. Provisions within the agreements direct a total of $2.54 billion to NFWF over a five-year period to be used to support natural resource 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.

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.

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

Alabama
The NFWF Board of Directors approved the award of more than $33.5 million for five new projects and amendments to two existing 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 assessments to inform future GEBF awards. Additional information on GEBF projects in Alabama can be found here.

The number of awards from the GEBF in the state of Alabama now stands at 24, with a total value of more than $148 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 $11.6 million for one new project and amendments to three existing projects in the state of Florida. The Florida projects address high-priority restoration and conservation needs; including the fifth and final year of fisheries assessment, and additional funding to enhance previous awards benefitting coastal dune lake restoration, sea turtles and marine mammals stranding response and analysis.  Additional information on GEBF projects in Florida can be found here.

The number of awards from the GEBF in the state of Florida now stands at 26, with a total value of more than $110 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 $2.2 million to amend one existing project in the state of Louisiana. The new funding will allow for additional data collection and surveys needed to update the preferred restoration design and further advance permitting for the restoration of East Timbalier Island. Additional information on Louisiana projects can be found here.

To date, NFWF has awarded more than $467 million to 12 projects in the state of Louisiana. The amendment was selected for funding following consultation with the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, FWS and NOAA.

Mississippi
The NFWF Board of Directors approved the award of more than $39.3 million for three new projects and an amendment to one existing project in the state of Mississippi. The Mississippi projects address high-priority conservation needs, including Phase II for both the beneficial use of dredge material and reef fish assessment projects, acquisition of important priority habitats in the lower Pascagoula River, and restoration planning. Additional information on GEBF projects in Mississippi can be found here.

The total number of awards from the GEBF in the state of Mississippi now stands at 18, with a total value of nearly $140 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 $15 million for 10 new projects and amendments to two existing projects. The Texas projects address high-priority conservation needs, including the acquisition and restoration of significant coastal habitats, enhancement of waterbird and beach nesting bird habitats, and several high-priority investments to address environmental damage related to Hurricane Harvey. Additional information on GEBF projects in Texas can be found here.

The total number of awards from the GEBF in the state of Texas now stands at 41, with a total value of more than $108 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 $3.8 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at
www.nfwf.org

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CONTACT: Rob Blumenthal
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
(202) 857-0166
rob.blumenthal@nfwf.org