GCERC is seeking public comment on the Council’s proposal to amend its FPL

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

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council) is seeking public comment on the Council’s proposal to amend its FPL in order to approve implementation funding for the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP), specifically for restoration of a portion of Twelve Mile Creek, Alabama. In 2015, the Council approved $358,000 in planning funds for this stream restoration project sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. At that time, the Council budgeted $1,742,000 for potential implementation of the project. The Council is now proposing to approve this implementation funding to restore approximately 1,800 linear feet of stream, including vegetated banks. The project design scope was originally to restore 1,300 linear feet of stream. The design was subsequently enhanced and permitted to allow restoration of 1,800 linear feet of stream. Before voting on approving funding, the Council will open this FPL amendment for a seven-day public comment period beginning on Monday, July 29, 2019 and concluding at 11:59 pm on August 5, 2019. You may submit those comments using one of the two methods below:

By Email to restorecouncil@restorethegulf.gov:  
Email submission of comments ensures timely receipt and enables the Council to make them available to the public. All comments received, including names, email addresses, attachments and other supporting materials, will be part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. You should only submit information that you wish to make publicly available.

By U.S. Mail:  
Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council 
Attn: MBNEP Amendment Comments
500 Poydras Street, Suite 1117 
New Orleans, LA 70130

The Council’s Standard Operating Procedures require a minimum of seven days of public notice prior to a Council vote. The Council believes that a seven-day comment period is appropriate in this case, given the scope of the project and the associated permit documentation. You may request an extension of this comment period if you need more time to review and consider this matter. To request an extension, please contact Keala J. Hughes at (504) 717-7235 or by e-mail at keala.hughes@restorethegulf.gov.

Background: 
Pursuant to the RESTORE Act, the Council is responsible for administering portions of Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement funds for the purpose of restoring the environment and economy of the Gulf coast. The Council administers two funding programs, one of which is the “Council-Selected Restoration Component” or “Bucket 2.” Under Bucket 2, the Council votes to approve Gulf ecosystem restoration projects and programs proposed by the Council members. Bucket 2 projects and programs approved for funding by the Council are included in what is called a “Funded Priorities List” or “FPL.”

The Twelve Mile Creek project was included in the Council’s Initial FPL in 2015, under the name “Mobile Bay National Estuary Program.” As noted above, in 2015 the Council approved planning funds for this project and identified it for potential implementation in the future. When the Council approves funding for a project or program in an FPL, the activity is included in “Category 1” of the FPL. When the Council identifies a project or program as a potential future priority but has not yet approved funding for it, the activity is included in “Category 2.”  Thus, the previously-approved planning component of Twelve Mile Creek is in Category 1; the Twelve Mile Creek implementation component is currently in Category 2.

A Council vote is needed to approve funding for a Category 2 project and move it to Category 1. Prior to approving implementation funds for a Category 2 project and moving it to Category 1, the Council must comply with all applicable environmental laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). On May 13, 2019, the Corps of Engineers issued a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit for the Twelve Mile Creek project. To comply with NEPA, the Council is proposing to adopt the Corps of Engineers NEPA Environmental Assessment (EA) for this project. The Corps of Engineers permit documentation for this project also addresses other applicable environmental laws.

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Keala J. Hughes
Director of External Affairs & Tribal Relations
(504) 717-7235
keala.hughes@restorethegulf.gov

Posted on 07/29/19 at 08:26 AM Permalink