Deepwater Horizon NRDA Trustee Council

It's been one year since we settled with BP and began implementing our programmatic plan to restore the Gulf. Since then, we've been busy planning, implementing restoration, and hearing from you about what restoration should look like.
The TexasMississippiAlabama, and Florida Trustee Implementation Groups requested your projects ideas for restoration. Florida held a webinar on its restoration planning process. They will consider those comments when developing their plans. Mississippi held a public meeting to get feedback on its draft restoration plan. Louisiana and Alabama also held public meetings and considered public input when finalizing their first restoration plans.
The Trustee Council also held its first annual public meeting in September 2016. We gave an update on our work since the settlement and described restoration planning activities and opportunities for public engagement. We also developed and updated our standard operating procedures, which guide the long-term management, implementation, and administration of settlement. 
Several of the Trustee Implementation Groups developed restoration plans following settlement:

  • Louisiana's plan focuses on wetlands, coastal, and nearshore habitats; habitat projects on federally managed lands; and birds
  • Mississippi's draft plan focuses on wetlands, coastal, nearshore and habitat; birds; and nutrient reduction
  • Alabama's plan focuses on recreational use

Many restoration projects are already underway, including:

We know you are interested in the status of our restoration and planning efforts, as well as how funds are being spent. We are making this information available through the Data Integration Visualization Exploration and Reporting Portal, or "DIVER". This is a powerful restoration reporting tool that's easy to use. Through DIVER, you can view planning and implementation status, monitoring activities and data, and financial information for each project. This includes the 2016 Annual Financial Summary Report.

Got this email as a forward? Subscribe to our email list and directly receive updates about the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process.

Posted on 04/21/17 at 02:41 PM Permalink

EPA-memorandum on implementation of EXE Order seeks public input

On March 24, 2017, EPA Administrator Pruitt issued an agency-wide memorandum on implementation of Executive Order 13777, which announced members of the required Regulatory Reform Task Force, and directed EPA program offices to seek public input on existing regulations and report findings to the Task Force by May 15.

Comment period ends May 15, 2017

How to Comment: You may submit comments in writing, using Email, Docket or mail. Submit comments to:

EmailLaws-Regs@epa.gov 
Dockethttps://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190
Mail: Office of Policy Regulatory Reform, Mail Code 1803A, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20460

EPA Offices are conducting outreach described below (updates to the list may be found at https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/regulatory-reform#Public)  


For more information about the public participation in regulatory reform, please visit https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/regulatory-reform#Public

Posted on 04/21/17 at 02:18 PM Permalink

Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring in Mobile and Baldwin Counties

Whether you catch fish for fun or for a living, swim for exercise or for leisure, kayak or powerboat, or just like to gaze at its beauty, as a community, coastal Alabama is intimately intertwined with its water resources. We depend on healthy water resources to sustain our environment, economy, and quality of life. Understanding the health of Mobile Bay’s estuarine waters is paramount to ensure the experiences and opportunities afforded to you remain intact and accessible for the next generation. One of the best ways to determine the condition of a waterbody is to conduct regular monitoring. However, when you consider the numerous waterways in coastal Alabama, along with budget constraints and other limitations placed on professionals and government agencies, routinely monitoring every river and stream seems daunting at best. The good news, however, is a productive and cost efficient way to collect comprehensive water quality data already exists, all it needs is you. In watersheds around Mobile Bay, citizens from all walks of life volunteer to become certified Alabama Water Watch (AWW) monitors and test sites monthly.

Alabama is fortunate to have AWW. Since 1992, AWW has worked to educate, train, and empower people statewide to monitor water quality. To date, they have more than 82,000 data records from 2,300 sites throughout Alabama. Their protocols are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and include a robust Quality Assurance Plan. Trained AWW water quality monitors are able to test for basic water chemistry and/or for bacteria depending on their certification. Alabama Water Watch training is always free! Water chemistry training takes about six hours and bacteria training about two hours.

Two longstanding watershed groups, Dog River Clearwater Revival in Mobile County and Wolf Bay Watershed Watch in Baldwin County, are a wonderful example of how volunteer water quality monitors can make a difference in their communities. Collectively, these two groups have monitored more than 100 different sites over the past twenty years. Both groups not only monitor, but they use their data to advocate for their respective watersheds. Wolf Bay’s volunteer monitoring data was instrumental in having the watershed declared an Outstanding Alabama Water in 2007 (Alabama’s highest designation). Dog River uses volunteer data to document water quality impacts from urban runoff and sewage overflows. Other watersheds with active citizen monitoring efforts include Weeks Bay, D’Olive, Little Lagoon, and recently established Fowl River.

Currently, water quality monitors are needed as part of the comprehensive watershed planning for 31 priority watersheds in Mobile and Baldwin counties. Driven by science, these plans will guide future restoration and management decisions for decades to come. Citizen science has an important role in watershed planning. Each plan calls for water quality monitoring to track the success or failure of implemented planning strategies, or to determine where additional focus is needed. The importance of volunteer monitoring and the benefit of your involvement cannot be overstated. If you or someone you know is interested in a fun and meaningful science-based volunteer activity, consider becoming a local water quality monitor. You do not have to live on the water to participate. What it boils down to is we need you. The success of any volunteer water quality monitoring program is dependent on the volunteers who willingly offer their time to better our collective understanding of water quality.

To learn more about how you can become a AWW volunteer or to register for a workshop, visit www.alabamawaterwatch.org. If you or a group is interested in volunteering as a water quality monitor for the comprehensive watershed plans, contact MBNEP.

Posted on 01/20/17 at 09:13 AM Permalink

Maintenance Dredging and Placement Activities Mobile Habor Navigation Project

Joint Public Notice

U.S Army Corps of Engineers-Mobile District, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-Region 4, and Alabama Department of Environmental Management

Maintenance Dredging and Placement Activities Mobile Harbor Project, Mobile County, Alabama

http://www.sam.usace.army.mil/Portals/46/docs/planning_environmental/docs/PN/Final%20Public%20Notice%201-4-2017.pdf?ver=2017-01-03-155253-307

Posted on 01/09/17 at 10:06 AM Permalink

Exploring the intersection between oil spill science and response

The Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program is excited to announce two new offerings – a publication and a free workshop – to kick off 2017. Please spread the word through your networks.

Think you know everything there is to know about oil? The publication “Frequently asked questions: Oil edition” details the ins and outs of petroleum –  from where it originates to what it’s made of to how scientists track it in the environment. Click here to find out more: http://gulfseagrant.org/oilspilloutreach/publications/

In February, please join us for a free seminar in New Orleans in-person or remotely through your computer and phone:

                Exploring the intersection between oil spill science and response

                February 6th, 2016 - 1:00 - 5:00 pm (Central)

                Hyatt Regency New Orleans, LA, Bolden 6 room

This workshop will allow local scientists working on oil spill research and local emergency responders to clearly communicate their needs and form partnerships. Scientists will share peer reviewed research results that can be applied to response and responders will share response priorities.

Goals and objectives of this workshop include:

Discuss the challenges in researcher and responder collaboration.
Discuss how to get involved with response.
Discuss tools and documents that would be useful for researchers and responders.
Discuss how researchers can get involved in response planning and how their research results can be incorporated into future responses.

This workshop is free and open to the public. It is being held in conjunction with the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, but workshop attendees do NOT need to register for the conference. Please visit our webpage for more information and to register: http://gulfseagrant.org/oil-spill-science-workshop-exploring-the-intersection-between-oil-spill-science-and-response/ Questions about the workshop? Please contact Monica Wilson with UF/IFAS Sea Grant via email or at (727) 553-3516.

We are continuously working to deliver peer-reviewed science to you. Contact your local Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Specialist for more information: http://gulfseagrant.org/oilspilloutreach/contact-a-member-of-the-oil-spill-outreach-project/

Posted on 01/09/17 at 09:55 AM Permalink

Proposed Maintenance and Placement of Dredged Material for Fly Creek

Joint Public Notice

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Alabama Department of Environmental Management for Proposed Maintenance and Placement of Dredged Material for Fly Creek Navigation Project.

http://www.sam.usace.army.mil/Portals/46/docs/planning_environmental/docs/PN/FINAL_public_notice_12-16-16.pdf?ver=2016-12-23-104315-083

Posted on 01/09/17 at 09:38 AM Permalink

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Approves 2016 Comprehensive Plan Update

NEW ORLEANS, LA – The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) held a public meeting on Friday, December 16th, 2016. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in his role as chair of the Council announced the approval of the Comprehensive Plan Update. This plan was unanimously adopted by the Council, which includes the five Gulf States (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas) and six federal agencies (U.S. Departments of the Interior, Commerce, Agriculture, and Homeland Security, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army). The Council also heard from some of its key restoration partners including representatives from the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. 

“Today’s announcement builds the foundation for state and federal partners to fulfill their commitments to the 22 million Americans who live in Gulf coastal counties and parishes to revitalize their economies and the Gulf ecosystem they depend upon,” Vilsack said. “The Comprehensive Plan Update reflects unprecedented collaboration between federal, state, tribal and local partners and creates the framework for ongoing coordination, engagement and transparency as we continue to invest in strategies to restore this vital region.”

The Council has updated its Initial Comprehensive Plan to include recent developments in Gulf restoration such as the resolution of civil claims against BP for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a source of future funding for the Council’s projects. The update also captures important public input and lessons learned from the process of developing and approving its initial Funded Priorities List (FPL), its first slate of restoration activities to be funded through the RESTORE Act, and positions the Council to make the most effective use of future funds as they become available beginning in 2017.

“The Council is pleased to present this Comprehensive Plan Update,” said Justin R. Ehrenwerth, Executive Director of the Council. “We thank the public for comments provided on the draft update. The Council has incorporated modifications to the update based on public input. We look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders as we move forward with comprehensive restoration across the coast.”

recording of the meeting and additional information about both The Comprehensive Plan Update 2016 and the Response to Public Comments can be found on the Council’s website,  www.RestoreTheGulf.gov.

Background

The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act) established the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) and the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund), and dedicates 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the Trust Fund, for restoration projects in the Gulf Coast

region. The Council is responsible for administering 60 percent of the total funding allocated from the Trust Fund: 30 percent (plus interest) under the Council-Selected Restoration Component and 30 percent under the Spill Impact Component. The Council is chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and members include the Governors of the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, as well as the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security, the Army and the Interior, and the Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Council is responsible for helping to restore the ecosystems and economies of the Gulf Coast region by developing and overseeing implementation of a Comprehensive Plan and carrying out other responsibilities. Read more about the Comprehensive Plan, the RESTORE Act and the Council at www.RestoreTheGulf.gov.

Hale Boggs Federal Building
500 Poydras Street
Suite 1117
New Orleans, LA 70130
www.RestoreTheGulf.gov

CONTACT: Keala.Hughes@RestoreTheGulf.gov

Posted on 01/03/17 at 03:42 PM Permalink

RFP: ADCNR Osprey Restoration in Coastal Alabama

As part of the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Phase IV Early Restoration Plan (ERP), the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources-State Lands Division (SLD) plans to conduct an Osprey restoration project in coastal Alabama. The project would include the placement of five (5) osprey nesting platforms at select locations in Mobile and Baldwin Counties and implementation of a five (5) year post-construction monitoring program.

Interested firms submitting a response to this Request for Proposals (RFP) should acquire a copy of the Osprey Restoration in Coastal Alabama ERP Fact Sheet along with a copy of this RFP from http://www.alabamacoastalrestoration.org/default.aspx 

Click here to download the full RFP

Posted on 01/03/17 at 02:14 PM Permalink

AL Current Connections V10 Issue 2 Winter 2016 is available for download

Posted on 01/03/17 at 08:08 AM Permalink

Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council Releases 2016 Comprehensive Plan Update

NEW ORLEANS, LA – The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) today released an update to its 2013 Comprehensive Plan. The update provides additional strategic guidance for the Council to follow as they make decisions on funding projects and activities aimed at restoring the Gulf of Mexico.

The Council will meet to vote on the Comprehensive Plan Update and hear from some of its key restoration partners including representatives from the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund.

The meeting will be Friday, December 16, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Celestin Ballroom Section E (3rd Floor), 601 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, LA, 70113 from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. CST. The public is invited to attend. For additional information, and to register for this meeting please click here.  Onsite registration will be available on the day of the meeting from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. This meeting is also available via live webinar and may be posted on www.RestoreTheGulf.gov. You can register for the webinar here (link is external). 

The Comprehensive Plan Update is intended to improve Council decisions by: 

  • Reinforcing the Council’s goals and objectives,
  • Setting forth an initial Ten-Year Funding Strategy,
  • Establishing the Council’s vision for Gulf restoration,
  • Increasing collaboration among Council members, partner restoration programs and the public,
  • Providing for advancement of large-scale projects and programs;
  • Refining the process for ensuring that the Council’s decisions are informed by the best available science; and
  • Improving the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of Council actions.

 The Council has updated its Initial Comprehensive Plan to include recent developments in Gulf restoration such as the resolution of civil claims against BP for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a source of future funding for the Council’s projects. The update also captures important public input and lessons learned from the process of developing and approving its initial Funded Priorities List (FPL), its first slate of restoration activities to be funded through the RESTORE Act, and positions the Council to make the most effective use of future funds as they become available beginning in 2017.

“The Council is pleased to present this Comprehensive Plan Update,” said Justin R. Ehrenwerth, Executive Director of the Council. “We thank the public for comments provided on the draft update. The Council has incorporated modifications to the update based on public input. We look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders as we move forward with comprehensive restoration across the coast.”

Background

The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act) established the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) and the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund), and dedicates 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the Trust Fund, for restoration projects in the Gulf Coast region. The Council is responsible for administering 60 percent of the total funding allocated from the Trust Fund: 30 percent (plus interest) under the Council-Selected Restoration Component and 30 percent under the Spill Impact Component. The Council is chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and members include the Governors of the States of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, as well as the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security, the Army and the Interior, and the Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Council is responsible for helping to restore the ecosystems and economies of the Gulf Coast region by developing and overseeing implementation of a Comprehensive Plan and carrying out other responsibilities. Read more about the Comprehensive Plan, the RESTORE Act and the Council at www.RestoreTheGulf.gov.

Posted on 12/08/16 at 01:54 PM Permalink