The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has announced grants totaling nearly $109 million in support of costal restoration projects in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas.
The grants were awarded through NFWF's Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, which was created in 2013 under the terms of plea agreements between the U.S. Department of Justice and BP and Transocean to direct $2.54 billion to natural resource projects in the Gulf states affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. As required under the agreements, the projects were developed in consultation with state resource agencies as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The seventh round of grants awarded through the program includes nearly $8 million for two projects in Alabama dedicated to the acquisition and protection of important wetland habitats, and grants totaling nearly $60 million for projects in Florida focused on restoring dune habitat, oyster reefs, wetland habitats, watershed health, and avian rookery habitat.
In Mississippi, grants totaling nearly $16 million were awarded to five new projects, including funding for priority oyster reef restoration, invasive species management, ongoing reef fish assessments, and the implementation of reef fish habitat restoration. And in Texas, grants totaling more than $25 million were awarded to seven projects, including the acquisition of significant coastal habitat, wetland and marsh restoration, and shoreline protection.
To date, NFWF has awarded a total of more than $1.4 billion through the program.
"The awards we announce today include important investments to acquire, preserve, and restore critical coastal habitats across the Gulf Coast," said NFWF executive director and CEO Jeff Trandahl. "These projects, as well as ongoing investments in projects that directly benefit living resources, will contribute significantly to our goal of protecting and restoring species and habitats impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill."
For a complete list of funded projects, see the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation website.