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.

NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund

The U.S. Department of Justice entered into criminal plea bargain agreements with two of the responsible parties, BP and Transocean for the oil spill caused by the explosion of the Macondo exploratory well off the coast of Louisiana on April 20, 2010. As part of these agreements, BP agreed to pay $2.394 billion and Transocean agreed to pay $150 million in criminal penalties to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). In these plea agreements, the court charged NFWF with the proper distribution and spending of the criminal fines. To that end, NFWF has established the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) to provide restoration funding for the five Gulf States. The criminal penalties are allocated among the five states as follows: 50% to Louisiana; 14% each to Mississippi, Alabama and Florida; and 8% to Texas. Over five years, the Fund will receive a total of $1.272 billion for barrier island and river diversion projects in Louisiana; $356 million each for natural resource projects in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi; and $203 million for similar projects in Texas. Plea agreements require NFWF to consult with appropriate state and federal resource managers to identify projects and maximize environmental benefits. In Texas, NFWF is consulting with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Texas General Land Office (GLO), as well as with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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 deadline for submittal of projects is January 4, 2019. Projects submitted via the online form or the NOAA website by the deadline will be considered. Projects previously submitted on these websites on or after November 1, 2017 will continue to be considered and do not need to be resubmitted unless there have been material changes to the project scope or budget.

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.

NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund – Texas Projects Funded to Date

See the list of Texas projects. bottom-banner-nfwf-1160x150px