RESTORE Council accepting submissions for restoration projects along the Texas coast
AUSTIN, TX — The RESTORE Council announced on Thursday, August 21st that submissions are now being accepted for restoration projects along the Texas Gulf Coast, to be funded by penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
All Texas projects previously submitted on the NOAA website, or submitted by October 20 using NOAA’s website, that restore and protect habitat and water quality will be reviewed in the selection process for Round 1 projects.
In July 2014, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council announced that it would soon begin taking project submissions for restoration projects to be funded with the portion of available RESTORE funds that is dedicated only to ecosystem restoration projects (“Bucket 2” RESTORE funding). Each Gulf state has a member on the Council, and only a Council member can submit a project. TCEQ Commissioner Toby Baker is the Texas representative on the Council.
Each state and federal member of the Council is responsible for proposing restoration projects and programs for consideration by the Council as a whole. The State of Texas, as a Council member, is continuously looking for input on potential restoration projects. Suggestions for project ideas for Bucket 2, Round 1, should be entered as Texas projects on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Gulf Restoration website.
For the first round of Bucket 2 projects, the Council will focus on science-based environmental projects that restore and protect habitat and water quality. In addition, the Council favors Gulf-wide, landscape-level projects for Bucket 2 funding. More information about the Council’s proposal submission and evaluation process is available at RestoreTheGulf.gov.
The RESTORE Council also announced the publication of an Interim Final Rule that will allow states to access funds for planning purposes under the Spill Impact Component funds. Those funds will support projects, programs and activities identified in approved State Expenditure Plans. The interim final rule is posted on the Federal Register.
The RESTORE Act, signed into law in July 2012, established a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund) which will receive 80 percent of the civil and administrative Clean Water Act penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The fund will be used to restore the long-term health of the natural ecosystems and economy of the Gulf Coast region. The public is encouraged to access the RestoreTheTexasCoast.org website for information on the project submission.