RESTORE Council Public Meeting Announcement Draft Planning Framework
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council) is hosting a public meeting on Thursday, May 30, 2019, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm (CDT). The meeting will be held at Texas A&M University/Corpus Christi, at the Harte Research Institute, (HRI), in room 127. Texas A&M University/Corpus Christi is located at 6300 Ocean Dr., Corpus Christi Texas. The campus map shows the location of the HRI building (#1). Parking is available at the Bayside Parking Garage.
At the public meeting, the RESTORE Council staff will present an overview of the draft Planning Framework and receive public comment on the document. The draft Planning Framework document includes specific priorities for Texas and other geographic areas along the Gulf Coast. The draft document is available at www.restorethegulf.gov. The public comment period concludes at 11:59 pm MDT on June 12, 2019. In addition to RESTORE Council staff, representatives from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) will be in attendance at the Corpus Christi public meeting. The Executive Director for the TCEQ, Toby Baker, is Texas Governor Abbott’s appointee to the RESTORE Council.
Once finalized, the Planning Framework document will be used by the RESTORE Council members to determine the submission and selection of programs and projects that will be considered for the next round of Bucket 2 funds, referred to as the Funded Priorities List (FPL 3). Approximately $360 million is available for distribution to the five Gulf states. The Planning Framework will ensure that investments in restoration efforts address the priority needs of the Gulf of Mexico. The Planning Framework draft is provided for public comment to support the Council’s commitment to transparency, collaboration, and advancement of best available science in the RESTORE Council’s decision-making process.
Bucket 2 Planning Update
- Posting the Planning Framework Draft for Public Comment
- Public Webinars on the Planning Framework Draft
- Public Meeting in Texas on Planning Framework Draft
Posting the Planning Framework DraftOn April 26, 2019, the RESTORE Council staff will begin a 45-day public review and comment period on the Planning Framework draft, that will conclude at 11:59 pm MDT on June 12, 2019. The Planning Framework draft is available at: www.restorethegulf.gov.
Public WebinarsThe RESTORE Council will host and record two live public webinars on April 29, 2019. During each live webinar, Council staff will present an overview of the Planning Framework draft and respond to selected questions from webinar participants.
The registration links for the live Planning Framework Draft- Public Comment webinars are below:
- April 29, 2019 at 2:00 pm (CDT) Webinar Registration Link
- April 29, 2019 at 6:00 pm (CDT) Webinar Registration Link
Public Meeting in TexasAt public meetings across the Gulf Coast, RESTORE Council staff will present an overview of the Planning Framework and receive comments. In Texas, the public meeting will be held on Thursday, May 30th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M/Corpus Christi, 6300 Ocean Drive. Please continue to visit the website for updates on this and other RESTORE-related activities. If you have any questions, please select the “contact us” button above.
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.
Bucket 3 Texas State Expenditure Plan Approved
On March 4, 2019, Toby Baker, TCEQ Executive Director and Governor Abbott’s appointee to the RESTORE Council, received approval¹ of Texas’ Initial State Expenditure Plan (SEP). As a reminder, the initial SEP² focuses on Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts and is a programmatic plan addressing the distribution of approximately $31 million in RESTORE Bucket 3 funds. Other plans will be developed in later years as additional Bucket 3 funds become available. Texas is expected to receive a total of $121 million by the end of 2031. With the approval of the Texas programmatic SEP the next steps to secure the Bucket 3 funds for Texas projects are outlined below.
- TCEQ develops and submits to the RESTORE Council staff federal applications for each of the four programmatic areas in the approved SEP.
- Once the RESTORE Council has awarded grants for each of the four programmatic areas, TCEQ will develop work plans for selected projects that will be funded under each of the awarded programmatic grants.
- The selection of projects will be made through collaboration between the Office of the Governor, Baker, and the Commission to Rebuild Texas (CRT), a Governor-established Commission to manage Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. The extensive project lists that have been compiled by CRT following the hurricane will be used in determining which projects are most needed and are eligible to receive RESTORE funds through the Bucket 3 SEP component of the RESTORE Act.
Projects selected to move forward under the approved SEP must comply with the programmatic SEP requirements, such as, but not limited to the following:
- eligible activity;
- authorized geographic location; and
- qualified recipient type.
2019 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 2019 funding cycle from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. During this funding cycle, approximately $35 million is available for new projects in Texas. The submittal period closed on January 4, 2019.
Update on Bucket 1 MIP
TCEQ RESTORE staff continue to prepare federal applications for submission to Treasury to receive grant awards for Bucket 1 funds. TCEQ will submit seven federal applications consisting of 23 of the 26 projects in the accepted MIP based on the following primary eligible activities: Restoration & Protection; Mitigation; Promotion of Consumption of Seafood; Planning Assistance; Tourism; Flood Protection; and Workforce Development. Each of the 23 projects will be included in one of the seven applications associated with the eligible activity that it was listed under in the MIP. Staff has submitted the Restoration & Protection and Flood Protection applications to Treasury. The Workforce Development and Tourism applications are currently being developed.
As a reminder, approximately $97 million is currently available to Texas under Bucket 1. Projects moving forward to the application phase were selected by then TCEQ 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 should be directed to the TCEQ’s Procurement and Contracts section in the Office of Administrative Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018 NFWF GEBF Project Awards Announcement
The NFWF Board of Directors approved the award of more than $20 million for 5 new projects in Texas that address high-priority conservation needs, including the acquisition of significant coastal habitats and restoration work to address resiliency needs across the Texas coast in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The projects include:
- Greens Lake Shoreline Protection and Marsh Construction Project – Phase II
- East Matagorda Bay Land Conservation (Cornelius Ranch)
- South Padre Island Land Acquisition (Laguna Atascosa, Allison Tracts)
- Bahia Grande Coastal Corridor Acquisitions – Phase III
- Port Aransas Nature Preserve Debris Removal
Additional information on GEBF projects in Texas can be found on the NFWF Website.
The total number of awards from the GEBF in the state of Texas now stands at 47, with a total value of over $150 million. All projects were selected for funding following extensive consultation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas General Lands Office, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, FWS and NOAA.
Texas Trustee Implementation Group Annual Public Meeting
The Texas Trustee Implementation Group (Texas TIG) held the 2018 annual public meeting on October 15, 2018 at Texas A&M University in Galveston, Texas. The public meeting included a presentation about the basics of the Natural Resources Damage Assessment process, updates and highlights on Deepwater Horizon oil spill restoration projects in progress, and an interactive open house where the public spoke with agency staff.
Meeting presentations and fact sheets are available on the TPWD Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill website.
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.
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.