Invitation: Public Webinar- Funded Priorities List 3- A Look Ahead
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council) is beginning the process to develop the next Funded Priorities List (FPL), targeted to be finalized in mid-2020. The FPL is a vehicle through which funds from the Council-Selected Restoration Component, commonly referred to as “Bucket 2”, are approved for specific ecosystem restoration activities in the Gulf Coast region. The RESTORE Council is hosting two public webinars to provide Gulf stakeholders with an overview of the path forward to the next Funded Priorities List. During each live webinar, questions related to process, schedule, and next steps will be answered. Both webinars will be recorded and posted on www.restorethegulf.gov.
- September 26, 2018 at 2:00 pm Central Time [Webinar Registration Link]
- September 26, 2018 at 6:00 pm Central Time [Webinar Registration Link]
You may register for these webinars in advance. Once registered, a link to access the webinar will be sent to the email address provided during registration.
For More information contact:
Keala J. Hughes, Director of External Affairs & Tribal Relations
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 is currently working on the Restoration & Protection application, to be followed by Flood Protection. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
BUCKET 3/STATE EXPENDITURE PLAN: NEXT STEPS
The information provided below outlines the next steps in the process to secure Bucket 3 grant funds now that the August 30th comment period for the draft Texas State Expenditure Plan (SEP) has closed.
This initial SEP is focusing on Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts and is a programmatic plan that addresses the distribution of approximately $31 million in 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.
Following the closing of the public comment period:
- Comments will be reviewed by TCEQ staff, and as needed, changes to the initial Texas SEP will be made.
- In consultation with Governor Abbott, TCEQ Executive Director Toby Baker will approve the programmatic SEP for submission.
- The programmatic SEP will be submitted to the RESTORE Council for approval by the Chair.
- Upon approval of the programmatic SEP, TCEQ will submit federal applications to the RESTORE Council for each of the programmatic areas.
- Once the Council has approved the individual federal applications, grants for each of the programmatic areas will be awarded.
- 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 as the state’s representative on the RESTORE Council, and the Commission to Rebuild Texas (CRT), a Governor-established Commission to managed 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. Projects selected to move forward under this approved SEP must comply with the requirements included in the programmatic SEP, such as, but not limited to the following:
- eligible activity;
- authorized geographic location; and
- qualified recipient type.
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.
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.