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.