NEW ORLEANS, La. (December 9, 2019)–The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council announced a new $158 million investment to restore the Gulf Coast as part of the recovery effort nearly 10 years after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.
A $130 million project in Louisiana will restore 45,000 acres of wetlands and swamps around Lake Maurepas, and an additional $28 million will acquire approximately 10,000 acres of new public lands in Alabama’s Perdido River watershed.
“The issues that the Gulf of Mexico is facing go far beyond the boundaries of any one state,” said David O’Neill, chief conservation officer of the National Audubon Society. “We commend the Council for finding creative, collaborative solutions to produce real change in the whole Gulf region for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people.”
“We are excited to see the Council invest in these projects to restore the places that birds need, and we thank the state and federal Council members for working together to make it happen,” said Brian Moore, vice president of Gulf policy at the National Audubon Society.
“From resident marsh birds like Snowy Egrets to migratory species like White pelicans and Prothonotary Warblers, as well as the iconic Bald Eagle, these projects will benefit a wide range of birds.”
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council was created in 2012 by the RESTORE Act in response to the BP oil disaster, and it includes representatives of the five Gulf states and six federal agencies. The Council is charged with overseeing a portion of the environmental fines resulting from the historic $20 billion BP settlement.
Originally planned for later next year, the Council’s decision to fund the River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp project early allows them to leverage additional funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as expedite the federal permitting process.
The Perdido River Land Conservation and Habitat Enhancements project will connect existing public lands on the Alabama-Florida border to create large-scale benefits for an important section of wetlands and longleaf pine forests.
This article was first published by Audubon on 9 December 2019.
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