Texas: Input Sought for Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Early Restoration Projects
Natural resource trustees are planning early restoration to
start addressing impacts to natural resources caused by the
Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and they’re welcoming ideas for
specific restoration and conservation projects in Texas.
In April, the trustees announced an agreement in which BP agreed
to provide $1 billion toward early restoration projects in the Gulf
of Mexico to address natural resource injuries caused by the spill.
The trustees are the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, on behalf of the United
States Department of Commerce, and state agencies from Alabama,
Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Texas trustees include
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), the General Land Office
and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Texas will select and implement $100 million in early
restoration projects, as will each of the other four Gulf states.
The federal trustees, NOAA and DOI, will each select and implement
$100 million in projects, and the remaining $300 million will be
used for projects selected by NOAA and DOI from proposals submitted
by the states.
The early restoration agreement is a first step toward
fulfilling BP’s obligation to fund complete restoration of injured
public resources, including the lost use of those resources by
people who live, work and visit in the area. The full Natural
Resource Damage Assessment process will continue until trustees
determine the full extent of damages caused by the spill.
“This is a critically important opportunity to invest in the
well being of the Texas coast,” said Carter Smith, TPWD’s executive
director and a member of the executive committee overseeing NRDA
spill restoration efforts. “Any and all suggestions from interested
parties about coastal fish and wildlife habitat restoration
projects are welcome.”
Early restoration funds can be used for projects such as
rebuilding coastal marshes, replenishing damaged beaches,
conserving sensitive areas of ocean habitat for injured wildlife,
and restoring barrier islands and wetlands that provide natural
protection from storms.
Early restoration project selection criteria include whether
projects contribute to making the public or the environment whole
by restoring lost or injured resources; address one or more
specific injuries associated with the spill; restore natural
resources, habitats or services of the same type, quality and
comparable ecological or human use value to compensate for losses
due to the spill; and are feasible and cost-effective.
Other criteria include project cost, likelihood of success and
sustainability, value to prevent future injury, avoiding or
minimizing adverse impacts from project construction or
implementation, benefits to more than one natural resource, and
public health and safety.
Any interested parties are encouraged to be a part of the early
restoration process by submitting project ideas online on the Give
Us Your Ideas web page of the NOAA Restore the Gulf website. Or
send comments by regular mail to NOAA Restoration Center, Attn: DWH
PEIS Projects, 263 13th Ave South, Suite 166, St. Petersburg, FL
33701. General information about the Natural Resource Damage
Assessment process is on TPWD’s NRDA FAQ web page.
Any ideas provided by the public will be added to the list of
suggestions already received by the trustees and will be considered
for inclusion in the early restoration planning process. Projects
selected by the trustees will be made available to the public for
review and comment in a draft Early Restoration Plan. Comments
received by the trustees will be considered prior to finalizing the