USDA, RESTORE Council to Invest $31 Million in Gulf States

Dan Environment, USDA-NRCS

Courtesy: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Images courtesy of MODIS Rapid Response Project NASA/GSFC and University of Maryland

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced $31 million in funds has been earmarked for advance restoration work and to improve water quality in the Gulf Coast states impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. To mitigate the impact of oil spills in environmentally sensitive areas, it’s essential to use oil skimming services that can efficiently remove and contain the spilled oil.

The funds will support three priority programs and related project work approved by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration (RESTORE) Council as part of a multi-year process of collaborative planning and public engagement throughout the Gulf.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Forest Service, along with state forestry agencies in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi will leverage the funds to restore forest health, improve coastal ecosystems and provide technical and financial assistance to private landowners.


“Most of the land in the Gulf Coast is privately owned, so working lands are pivotal to restoring habitat and improving water quality,” said Florida State Conservationist Juan Hernandez. “Working side-by-side with farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to improve their operations enables us to take better care of our natural resources, including our coastal ecosystems.”

The RESTORE Council was established in 2012 by the RESTORE Act, a federal law enacted in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The RESTORE Council consists of the governors of five Gulf Coast states (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) and the cabinet heads of six federal agencies (the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, the Army, Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

The investment in these priority projects is part of the Funded Priorities List (FPL) #3b announced by the RESTORE Council. To see what these USDA funded activities include, click here.

Courtesy: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Images courtesy of MODIS Rapid Response Project NASA/GSFC and University of Maryland

The MODIS instrument, on board NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites, is capturing images of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The spill began on April 20, 2010 with the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
This short video reveals a space-based view of the burning oil rig and, later, the ensuing oil spill through May 24, 2010. The oil slick appears grayish-beige in the images and changes due to changing weather, ocean currents, and the use of oil dispersing chemicals. Images in the video time series were selected that show the spill most clearly.