Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund in Florida
Since November, 2013, after extensive consultation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NFWF has awarded $15.7 million from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund for six restoration projects in the state of Florida.
The Florida projects address high priority restoration and conservation needs. They represent important efforts to protect and enhance natural and living resources, as well as significant planning efforts to develop future projects for consideration under the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund.
Click on the project title for more information:
Management and Restoration of Escribano Point Coastal Habitat
Government Street Regional Stormwater Pond at Corrine Jones Park
Apalachicola Bay Oyster Restoration
Comprehensive Panhandle Coastal Bird Conservation
Eliminating Light Pollution on Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches
Enhanced Assessment for Recovery of Gulf of Mexico Fisheries – Phase I
NFWF is engaged in consultation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, FWS and NOAA to identify priority restoration and conservation projects for consideration under the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. Final approval of future projects is anticipated in late 2014.
About the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund
NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund was established in early 2013 as a result of two plea agreements resolving the criminal cases against BP and Transocean after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The agreements direct a total of $2.544 billion to NFWF over a five-year period. The funds are to be used to support projects that remedy harm to natural resources (habitats, species) where there has been injury to, or destruction of, loss of, or loss of use of those resources resulting from the oil spill. Projects are expected to occur within reasonable proximity to where the impacts occurred, as appropriate.
Consistent with the terms of the plea agreements, funding priorities include, but are not limited to, projects that contribute significantly to the following natural resource outcomes:
Restore and maintain the ecological functions of landscape-scale coastal habitats, including barrier islands, beaches and coastal marshes, and ensure their viability and resilience against existing and future threats;
Restore and maintain the ecological integrity of priority coastal bays and estuaries; and
Replenish and protect living resources including oysters, red snapper and other reef fish, Gulf Coast bird populations, sea turtles and marine mammals.
This list was prepared in collaboration with state and federal resource agencies. For a list of potential actions that might be considered to advance these outcomes, please click here.
Learn more about NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund.
The Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund in Florida
Under the allocation formula and other provisions contained in the plea agreements, $356 million of the total amount to be deposited into the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund will be for project expenditures in the state of Florida (funded over a five-year period).
To learn more about Florida’s process for identifying priority Gulf Coast restoration projects, visit: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/default.htm
The Oil Spill in Florida
The state of Florida is continuing to assess the environmental damage from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Early assessments, in addition to the obvious and immediate impacts due to response activities clearly show that marine and coastal environments in northwest Florida were particularly impacted.
Florida will focus natural resource restoration efforts on these marine and coastal environments by improving water quality and other critical habitat elements, strengthening management of important fish and wildlife populations, and enhancing the resiliency of coastal resources and communities by implementing outcomes-based projects that maximize environmental benefits.