The Pensacola Bay Estuary is depicted in this graphic. Submitted graphic.
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council) recently approved more than $83 million in funding for restoration efforts benefiting Florida, including $2 million awarded to development a comprehensive management plan for the Pensacola and Perdido Bay Estuary Program.
The funding has been approved as part of the Council-Selected Restoration Component Funded Priorities List (FPL) 3b, developed through collaboration among the RESTORE Council’s state and federal members with input from Gulf of Mexico stakeholders. FPL 3b includes 20 activities that will address a range of ecosystem needs.
The $302 million FPL 3b includes $69 million for large-scale Florida programs to address water quality and quantity, habitat acquisition and conservation, and coastal resilience. Other approved activities include $5 million for longleaf pine and hydrology restoration within the Apalachicola watershed, as well as $9 million for Gulf-wide programs that provide multi-state benefits.
“In the wake of an environmental disaster as severe as the BP oil spill, remediation and recovery funding is critical to continuing research and restoration,” said Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein. “The Gulf is an incredibly interconnected system, and our restoration efforts have been successful because of the many different groups involved. The continued collaboration between state and federal partners will restore economies, ecosystems and way of life in the Gulf.”
FPL 3b includes $140,456,250 for ecosystem restoration activities that RESTORE Council members will implement in the near term, and an additional $161,543,750 budgeted for priority activities that the RESTORE Council will evaluate in the future.
The RESTORE Council was established in 2012 by the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act), a federal law enacted in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The RESTORE Council consists of the governors of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, along with the secretaries of the U.S. departments of agriculture, the Army, commerce, homeland security, the Interior and the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Additional information on the projects and programs included in FPL 3b, as well as prior FPL activities can be found at RestoreTheGulf.gov.