Coastal Restoration Funding for Texas from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill


What’s New:


BUCKET 3 TEXAS STATE EXPENDITURE PLAN APPROVED

On Monday, March 4th, Toby Baker, TCEQ Executive Director and Governor Abbott’s appointee to the RESTORE Council, received approval of Texas’ Initial State Expenditure Plan (SEP). As a reminder, the initial SEP 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 the 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 include:
  • TCEQ will develop and submit to the RESTORE Council staff individual 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, Toby 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 through CRT’s process 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.

RESTORE BUCKET 2 PLANNING

Public Meetings

In December, Toby Baker, Executive Director of TCEQ and Governor Abbott’s appointee to the RESTORE Council, conducted three public meetings along the Texas coast to receive input from the public on priority issues along the Texas coast, as well as Gulf-wide. The intent of this initial series of public meetings was to gather information to inform Baker’s discussion with the RESTORE Council members as they deliberate on the development of a planning framework document for the Gulf coast. At these meetings Baker made a presentation providing background information on the RESTORE funds and outlining the purpose and goals of the public meetings. In addition, TCEQ has contracted with Dr. James Gibeaut from Harte Research Institute to provide technical assistance in the Bucket 2 planning effort. At the meetings Dr. Gibeaut presented information on the status of the Texas Gulf coast.

Next Steps

Baker, along with his colleagues on the RESTORE Council, will adopt a draft planning framework document that is expected to be published by the RESTORE Council for public comment in early spring 2019. It is critical that people provide comments on the planning framework at that time to ensure that the interests of Texas are appropriately characterized. The planning framework document will offer guidance for later discussions on the types of projects that could be considered for funding under the Council-Selected component of the RESTORE Act, referred to as Bucket 2. A link to the draft planning framework and how to submit comments will be posted on this web site as soon as it is available.

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 MIP Application Process

TCEQ RESTORE staff have been preparing 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 project 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. As a reminder, approximately $97 million is currently available to Texas through Bucket 1. Projects moving forward to the application phase were selected by then 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 arthur.french@tceq.texas.gov.

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.