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.
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 http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov