There are four primary sources of oil spill restoration funding that the City has benefited from already or may benefit from in the future:
- The Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund
- The Natural Resource Damage Assessment Early Restoration Fund
- The Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund
- Economic damages fund
How much money is available?
The GEBF is funded from the $2.544 billion settlement that resolved criminal cases against BP and Transocean. The funds are to be paid out over five years (2013-2018) according to the terms agreed to in the settlement.
Who administers the Fund?
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), an independent 501(c)(3)organization established by Congress to administer conservation grants, serves as the manager and trustee for the GEBF. Because of NFWF’s involvement projects funded with money from this fund are often called “NFWF [niffwiff] projects”.
What types of projects and programs are funded?
The purpose of the GEBF is to support projects that remedy the harm to natural resources that was caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Funding priorities include projects that contribute significantly to these outcomes:
- Restore and maintain the ecological functions of landscape-scale coastal habitats, including barrier islands, beaches and coastal marshes, and ensure their viability and resilience against existing and future threats, such as sea level rise;
- Restore and maintain the ecological integrity of priority coastal bays and estuaries; and
- Replenish and protect living resources including oysters, red snapper and other reef fish, Gulf Coast bird populations, sea turtles and marine mammals.
How much of the Fund does Florida get?
Under the terms of the settlement Florida will receive $356 million. The majority of the settlement money ($195 million) will be deposited in years four and five. $15.7 million from Florida’s account was distributed for 2013 projects and $45 million has been allocated for 2014 projects.
Has Pensacola gotten any money from the Fund?
Pensacola received $2.1 million for the Government Street Regional Stormwater Pond at Corrine Jones Park in 2013 and $3 million for two stormwater projects in 2014 (Maggie’s Ditch and Bill Gregory Park). More information about those projects can be found on the Bayou Chico Restoration Projects Page.
How are projects selected?
In accordance with the criminal settlement the NFWF Board retains final authority to select projects. Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) coordinate with NGOs, local governments and others to identify projects for NFWF staff review. They also represent Florida in consultations with federal resource agencies and the NFWF Board. The public can submit proposals for GEBF projects directly to DEP online or by mail using the procedures found on the DEP website.
GEBF selection criteria limit infrastructure projects to only those necessary to restore or protect natural resources and all projects must occur within Gulf States and waters and be within reasonable proximity to spill impacts. Therefore the types of projects that can be funded through the GEBF are narrower in scope than the projects eligible for funding from the RESTORE Act Trust Fund or the Early Restoration Fund.
What is the timeline for project identification and selection?
Project selection is done on an annual basis. The pre-proposal deadline is mid-April and final project selection is made in mid-November. Proposals may be submitted at any time, but if they arrive after the pre-proposal deadline they will be evaluated in the next selection cycle. Projects not selected in a given year are automatically considered in the following year.
Where can I learn more about the projects that have already been funded?
The NFWF website has a section devoted to the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. It includes a page for each of the impacted states with links to fact sheets about the projects. The Florida project fact sheets can also be viewed by clicking on the links below.
- Comprehensive Panhandle Coastal Bird Conservation
- Enhanced Assessment for Recovery of Gulf of Mexico Fisheries – Phase I
- Management and Restoration of Escribano Point Coastal Habitat – Phase I
- Apalachicola Bay Oyster Restoration
- Eliminating Light Pollution on Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches
- Government Street Regional Stormwater Pond at Corinne Jones Park
How can the public submit proposals for GEBF funding?
The public can submit proposals for GEBF projects directly to DEP online or by mail using the procedures found on the DEP website. The list serves as a master list for all restoration project proposals regardless of funding source.
What projects are good candidates for funding?
NFWF funding priorities specifically identify the restoration and conservation of seagrasses, water quality improvement through stormwater management, and the control of invasive species to enhance native wildlife and fish habitat. Those priorities coincide with local priorities for habitat improvement, lionfish mitigation and stormwater infrastructure improvements and projects that target those activities are likely to be considered.