Public Comment Requested
Draft Texas State Expenditure Plan (SEP) – RESTORE Bucket 3
As Governor Abbott’s appointee to the federal RESTORE Council, TCEQ Commissioner Toby Baker has posted for public comment the draft State Expenditure Plan (bucket 3) for Texas. Due to the devastating and long-range effects of Hurricane Harvey, Governor Abbott and Commissioner Baker determined that this Texas SEP will focus on hurricane recovery efforts, ecological and economic, as well as resiliency-related programs for the area. The fourteen counties eligible to receive these grants funds are listed in the draft SEP.
With communities directly affected by Hurricane Harvey continuing to face challenges, it is critical to proceed in an expedited manner to secure these federal RESTORE grants funds. To that end a programmatic, rather than project-specific, SEP has been developed. Selection of specific projects will be done upon RESTORE Council’s approval of the programmatic SEP and in conjunction with the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas (CRT).
A SEP, approved by the federal RESTORE Council, is required to secure RESTORE grant funds under the Spill Impact Component of the federal RESTORE Act. Approximately $31 million is currently available to fund activities in an approved Texas SEP.
The 45-day comment period will end at 5:00 pm central time on Monday, August 27th. Written comments should be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TCEQ Awarded Bucket 2 Planning Grant
In late April, the federal RESTORE Council awarded TCEQ a 5-year Bucket 2 Planning Grant totaling $2.1 million. The grant start date was June 1, 2018. These grant funds will be used in support of work to coordinate with Texas coastal experts, elected officials, representatives for NRDA and NFWF, the four RESTORE Gulf states, federal entities and the public, using the best available science, in meeting the requirements of the RESTORE Council-Selected Restoration Component (Bucket 2) and the commitments of the Comprehensive Plan 2016 update.
The grant activities will focus on addressing and determining planning needs and identifying project proposals for the next Bucket 2 Funded Priority List (FPL) and to set up the foundation for successful long-term restoration projects. TCEQ expects to hire a contractor to conduct planning and collaboration activities over the grant cycle to compile information that the state will use to determine the highest level of restoration needs along the Texas coast, as well as the Gulf coast, and to provide the basis for a 10-year Strategy approach for long-term restoration.
Visit this web site periodically to learn of upcoming activities associated with Bucket 2 Planning efforts in Texas, especially those scheduled to receive public input.
2018 NFWF GEBF Project Solicitation
The Texas Trustee agencies (GLO, TPWD, and TCEQ) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) are considering projects for the 2018 funding cycle from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. During this funding cycle, approximately $37 million is available for new projects in Texas. The deadline for submittal of projects was January 3, 2018.
The Texas Trustee agencies are no longer accepting project submissions for the 2018 funding cycle at this time. Announcement of NFWF GEBF Awards is currently scheduled for November 2018.
Update on Activities Associated with Treasury’s Acceptance of Texas MIP
With the acceptance by Treasury of the Texas MIP, Commissioner Baker has directed staff to begin federal applications for 23 of the 26 projects listed in the accepted MIP. Those applications for grant awards are expected to be submitted to Treasury for their approval beginning in mid to late summer.
Due to on-going payments into the federal RESTORE Trust Fund, approximately $97 million is currently available to Texas for MIP-accepted projects. Projects moving forward to the application phase were selected by Commissioner Baker using his discretionary authority and in consultation with the Office of the Governor. Factors that were considered included whether the projects (1) strengthen coastal resiliency, (2) stimulate local coastal economies, (3) increase tourism, and (4) establish a foundation for future economic and ecosystem restoration through careful planning and study. Consideration was also given to projects that had a strong economic component in addition to ecological restoration. Finally, these projects were also selected to provide funding for as many RESTORE eligible counties as possible, as well as to ensure a cross-section of projects that addressed as many of the RESTORE eligible activities as possible.
Any questions concerning the Bucket 1/MIP process discussed above should be directed to the TCEQ’s Procurement and Contracts section in the Office of Administrative Services at email@example.com.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Texas Trustees Release Restoration Plan for Texas Gulf Coast
The Texas Trustee Implementation Group (TIG) has released its first restoration plan, selecting 13 restoration projects to compensate for injuries to natural resources caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Texas Trustee Implementation Group Final 2017 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats; and Oysters was published on October 18, 2017 and prioritizes restoration projects for oysters and wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats with a total estimated cost of $45,761,000. The final restoration plan reflects revisions to the draft plan resulting from public comments and continuing project development by the Texas TIG. View the restoration plan.
For additional information, read more about NRDA.