Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund in Mississippi
Since November, 2013, after extensive consultation with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NFWF has awarded over $11 million from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund for four projects in the state of Mississippi.
The Mississippi projects address high priority 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:
Audubon Coastal Bird Stewardship Program in Mississippi
Mississippi Coastal Preserves Program
Coastal Streams and Habitat Initiative
Mississippi Coastal Restoration Plan
NFWF is engaged in consultation with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, FWS and NOAA to identify priority 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 Mississippi
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 Mississippi (funded over a five-year period).
Mississippi has engaged in vigorous public engagement constructing multiple opportunities for stakeholder involvement throughout the process. The state supports consideration of science-based projects and community-driven solutions that protect and restore its natural heritage.
To learn more about Mississippi’s process for identifying priority Gulf Coast restoration projects, visit: www.restore.ms
The Oil Spill in Mississippi
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 caused serious natural resource damages in the state of Mississippi, with significant oiling in the near-shore estuarine environment. Resources affected by the spill include ecologically, recreationally, and commercially important species and their habitats.
Mississippi is working to develop a holistic approach to restoration efforts that maximizes the benefit of current and future funding with the overall goal of achieving long-lasting and sustainable environmental benefit for the state and region.