FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 8 2012
DEEPWATER HORIZON NATURAL RESOURCE TRUSTEES CALL FOR PUBLIC INPUT ON NEXT ROUND OF GULF RESTORATION
~ Trustees ask public to consider $9 million in new projects
focused on bird and turtle nesting habitat; comment period includes Nov.
13 public meeting in Pensacola, Fla. ~
TALLAHASSEE – The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) trustees (Trustees) have released the Deepwater Horizon Phase II Draft Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Review (DERP/ER) for
public review and comment. The plan includes two proposed projects
totaling about $9 million that focus on restoring nesting habitat for
birds and sea turtles. Response efforts resulting from the Deepwater
Horizon oil spill caused injuries to this natural habitat.
"This draft plan includes two Early Restoration projects
which represent a near-term opportunity to improve the nesting habitats
of birds and turtles, two species that are integral to the Gulf Coast
wildlife community," said Cynthia Dohner, Natural Resource Trustee for
the Department of the Interior. "Our desire is to provide these benefits
during the next nesting season, but we'd first like to hear from the
public. We encourage the public to attend the November 13 meeting in
Pensacola and to give us their comments."
The DERP/ER describes the second round of projects
proposed to receive funding from the $1 billion BP committed to Early
Restoration on April 21, 2011.
The trustees will hold a public meeting to solicit
comment on the DERP/ER at the Escambia County Central Complex Building
in Room 104, 3363 West Park Place Pensacola, Fla. 32505:
Nov. 13, 2012 6:00- 7:00 PM Open House
7:00- 9:00 PM Meeting and Public Comment
The DERP/ER and a list of public repositories are available at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov and www.doi.gov/deepwaterhorizon.
Comments will be taken until Dec. 10, 2012. Comments may be submitted in the following ways:
- Via the Web: http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.
- For electronic submission of comments containing attachments, email: fw4coastalDERPcomments@fws.gov
- U.S. Mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 2099, Fairhope, AL 36533.
"We are pleased to be able to move forward with these
important projects that restore key nesting and wintering habitats for
Florida’s coastal wildlife, and we will continue to work with our fellow
Trustees to address the full injury the Deepwater Horizon explosion and
resulting oil spill created," said Nick Wiley, Florida’s Co- Trustee
with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "Restoring
these damages to the Gulf Coast is vital to the families and businesses
that depend on healthy and diverse fish and wildlife resources, and we
look forward to working closely with our coastal communities as these
projects take shape."
The DERP/ER describes two proposed projects for the
second round of Early Restoration. These projects address coastal
conservation for the purpose of restoring bird (avian) and sea turtle
nesting habitats, which were injured by oil spill response operations.
These projects are timed to enhance the bird and turtle nesting ground
as the spring 2013 nesting season begins. Below is a brief description
of each project:
Comprehensive Program for Enhanced Management of Avian Breeding Habitat
Injuries by Response in the Florida Panhandle, Alabama and Mississippi.
This project proposes to protect nesting habitat for beach-nesting
birds from disturbance in order to restore habitat impaired by
disturbance from oil spill response activities. It is to be conducted on
sandy beaches in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, and
Franklin counties, Florida; Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge (NWR)
in Baldwin and Mobile counties, Alabama, and the Gulf Islands National
Seashore (GUIS) – Mississippi District.
- Improving Habitat Injured by Spill Response: Restoring the Night Sky. This
project proposes to reduce artificial lighting impacts on nesting
habitat for sea turtles, specifically loggerhead turtles, to restore
habitat impaired by disturbance from oil spill response activities. It
is to be conducted on sandy beach public properties in Baldwin County,
Alabama; and Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, and
Franklin counties, Florida.
NRDA is the process used by the Trustees to develop the
public’s claim for natural resource damages against the party or parties
responsible for a spill and to seek compensation for the harm done to
natural resources and the services provided by those resources. For
early restoration projects, the Deepwater Horizon NRDA trustees include
the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of the Interior,
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture and
state agencies from the five Gulf States --Florida, Alabama, Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Texas.
Early Restoration projects represent an initial step
toward fulfilling the responsible parties’ obligation to fund the
complete restoration of injured natural resources. Early Restoration
provides an opportunity to implement restoration projects agreed upon by
the Trustees and BP under the Framework Agreement prior to the
completion of the NRDA. The damage assessment will continue while Early
Restoration planning is under way. BP and other responsible parties are
obligated to compensate the public for the full scope of the natural
resource injury caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including
the cost of assessing such injury and planning for restoration.