IN THE NEWS
RESTORE Council Award made for Gulf County project
Congratulations to Gulf County on their recent award of $200,000 to support engineering and design efforts for the St. Joseph Peninsula Coastal Erosion Control Project. The purpose of the project is to increase the level of protection to the south end of the St. Joseph Peninsula from chronic shoreline erosion and the adverse issues associated with these conditions. Thank you to Gulf County and the Apalachee Regional Planning Council for their collaboration on funding application.
SEP Amendment #2 Approved by RESTORE Council
The Gulf Consortium is pleased to announce the final approval of SEP amendment #2. A letter was delivered to FDEP Secretary Noah Valenstein, indicating that the amendment was fully approved by RESTORE Council Chair, Andrew Wheeler, based on findings from Council’s Executive Director, Ben Scaggs. This amendment provided for changes in project scopes or timing of projects in several counties and it clarified the Gulf Consortium’s roles in project oversight and implementation.
You can see the original SEP and the amendments here.
2020 Executive Committe
The Gulf Consortium is pleased to announce the newly selected officers who will serve on the Gulf Consortium's Executive Committee. Congratulations to the At-Large members: Commissioner Scott Carnahan (Citrus County) and Mr. David Edwards (Wakulla County), and congratulations to the Alternate members: Commissioner Robert Bender (Escambia County) and Commissioner Lane Lynchard (Santa Rosa County). These four Directors will serve alongside the three elected officers of the Gulf Consortium as the Executive Committee for the Consortium. Thank you for your willingness to serve this Board!
2020 Officer Elections
The Gulf Consortium is pleased to announce the newly elected officers from its election held at its January 29th Board Meeting in Tallahassee., Florida. Congratulations to Charlotte County Commissioner Chris Constance elected Chairman, Levy County Commissioner John Meeks as Vice Chair and Commissioner Jack Mariano as Secretary Treasurer. The officer roles are effective immediately and will run until the first board meeting of 2021. Congratulations to each of the new officers; your service is much appreciated!
The Consortium also presented the previous Chair – Gulf County’s Warren Yeager with an award in grateful recognition of his service to the Gulf Consortium and for leading and inspiring the consortium.
First SEP Implementation Project Awarded
The Gulf Consortium is pleased to announce that the first SEP implementation project has been awarded. Pasco County’s artificial reef project will both support the increasing recreational demand for offshore reef fishing and scuba diving opportunities by both residents and tourists and also enhance the abundance, distribution, and structural diversity of hard-bottom habitat in Pasco County offshore waters. The site is approximately 12 miles offshore west of Hudson Beach. The work is expected to be complete by November 2020. Monitoring of the acres of habitat restored, compliance with all plant and animal community surveys required under the associated USACE permits, and improvements to recreational infrastructure will occur in accordance with the grant requirements. It should be noted that Pasco County earned special comment from RESTORE Council for the quality of their grant application, and we extend our appreciation to County Staff and their Commissioners for these efforts.
The Gulf Consortium’s State Expenditure Plan was approved in September, 2018 and the Board received approval to commence implementation activities in February, 2019. The Board approved the first group of grant applications in March, 2019, and the Pasco County Hudson Reef project is the first grant awarded. An additional 11 grants for $11.1 million are pending approval. All told, the projects will substantially improve water resources across the Gulf and restore significant areas of habitat.
The Gulf Consortium is a public entity created by Inter-local Agreement among Florida's 23 Gulf Coast counties, from Escambia County in the western panhandle of Florida to Monroe County on the southern tip of Florida and the United States. Florida’s 23 Gulf Coast Counties formed the Consortium to meet requirements of the RESTORE Act to develop a State Expenditure Plan for economic and environmental recovery of the Gulf coast in Florida following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The RESTORE Act was passed by the Congress on June 29, 2012 and signed into law on July 6, 2012 by the President.
For more details on Gulf Consortium activity, visit the home page of www.gulfconsortium.org/ and scroll down to click on “View Project Data Here” for a link to an interactive page of information. Page 7 of the linked pages shows the current status of all active grant applications.
The Gulf Consortium has developed, in collaboration with Manatee County, an amendment to Florida’s State Expenditure Plan to accommodate a new project in Manatee County.
The draft SEP amendment is available here along with an interface for collection of public comment:
Please share this link with any interested stakeholders
Florida Draft SEP Amendment for New Project in Manatee County – public comment open
The RESTORE Council Approves Florida’s State Expenditure Plan providing $291M for 69 Projects across 23 Coastal Counties
EPA Press Office (firstname.lastname@example.org)
WASHINGTON — Last week, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent a letter to Mr. Noah Valenstein, Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Designated Alternate for the Governor of Florida to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council), approving the State of Florida’s State Expenditure Plan (SEP) developed by the Gulf Consortium (designated entity for Florida under the Spill Impact Component funding).
“I applaud Florida and the Gulf Consortium on the development of this comprehensive and effective State Expenditure Plan that will provide $291 million for 69 projects spread across 23 coastal counties to restore water quality, protect wildlife, and revitalize the Gulf economy,” said EPA Acting Administrator and RESTORE Council Chair Andrew Wheeler. “Our collective efforts under the RESTORE Act will help protect and ensure the long-term health and resilience of the Gulf Coast ecosystem.”
“Today, I am proud to announce the approval of Florida’s robust plan to invest more than $290 million in critical projects along Florida’s Gulf Coast,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott. “The communities impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill have come so far since that tragic disaster and we will never stop fighting to protect our environment and make sure families and businesses along the Gulf Coast continue to grow. The approval of this funding is great news and I look forward to continuing our good work with all of our partners to take care of Florida’s Gulf Coast.”
“We are very excited about the approval of the Florida State Expenditure Plan. This is a culmination of 5 years of work and cooperation with and between federal, state and local governments. This ambitious plan implements environmental restoration projects across 23 counties from the Perdido River in my county of Escambia to Key West in Monroe County,” said Gulf Consortium Chairman Grover Robinson. “I am incredibly proud of the work that has been done and the goals that will be accomplished to make Florida better. Thank you to everyone who participated in this endeavor and all Floridians will benefit from this effort.”
“I would like to thank the Gulf Consortium for developing a plan that includes a diverse suite of projects and programs that focus on environmental restoration and protection of water quality and coastal resources and promotion of tourism along our Gulf Coast,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “Florida’s counties clearly recognize that healthy ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, and wetlands are inextricably linked to our state’s economy.
The Florida SEP was submitted under the Spill Impact Component of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act). With this approval, funding for activities in the SEP will be disbursed via federal grants between the Council and the Gulf Consortium. The approved SEP is posted on the RESTORE Council website.
The RESTORE Act established the RESTORE Council and the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (Trust Fund). It dedicates 80 percent of Clean Water Act civil and administrative penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the Trust Fund, for restoration projects in the Gulf Coast region.
The RESTORE 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 RESTORE Council is chaired by EPA, and members include the governors of: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, as well as the secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, the Army and the Interior.
The RESTORE Council is responsible for helping restore the ecosystems and economies of the Gulf Coast region by developing and overseeing implementation of a Comprehensive Plan and carrying out other responsibilities. The Gulf Coast ecosystem is one of the most diverse environments in the world and home to a wealth of wildlife, valuable natural resources, abundant seafood, extraordinary beaches and recreational activities, and a rich cultural heritage.
Learn more about the RESTORE Council at www.restorethegulf.gov.
Gov. Scott: $291 Million to Improve Water Quality Along Florida’s Gulf Coast
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2018
CONTACT: GOVERNOR’S PRESS OFFICE
Gov. Scott: $291 Million to Improve Water Quality Along Florida’s Gulf Coast
~Over $291 million dollars in projects approved along Florida’s Gulf Coast ~
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida’s State Expenditure Plan (SEP), which includes more than $291 million in projects to restore and protect Florida’s Gulf Coast, was approved by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. In 2013, Governor Scott signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Gulf Consortium, creating a collaborative process to develop the State Expenditure Plan for a portion of Florida’s RESTORE funding resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Governor Scott said, “Today, I am proud to announce the approval of Florida’s robust plan to invest more than $290 million in critical projects along Florida’s Gulf Coast. The communities impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill have come so far since that tragic disaster and we will never stop fighting to protect our environment and make sure families and businesses along the Gulf Coast continue to grow. The approval of this funding is great news and I look forward to continuing our good work with all of our partners to take care of Florida’s Gulf Coast.”
Grover Robinson, Gulf Consortium Chairman, said, "We are very excited about the approval of the Florida State Expenditure Plan. This is a culmination of 5 years of work and cooperation with and between federal, state and local governments. This ambitious plan implements environmental restoration projects across 23 counties from the Perdido River in my county of Escambia to Key West in Monroe County. I am incredibly proud of the work that has been done and the goals that will be accomplished to make Florida better. Thank you to everyone who participated in this endeavor and all Floridians will benefit from this effort."
DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein said, “I would like to thank the Gulf Consortium for developing a plan that includes a diverse suite of projects and programs that focus on environmental restoration and protection of water quality and coastal resources and promotion of tourism along our Gulf Coast. Florida’s counties clearly recognize that healthy ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, and wetlands are inextricably linked to our state’s economy. The Department looks forward to working with the Gulf Consortium and its member counties on these and efforts will continue to assist in identifying and leveraging other potential funding opportunities.”
View the SEP at https://www.gulfconsortium.org/draft-state-expenditure-plan.
The Gulf Consortium is a public entity created in 2012 that consists of one representative of each of Florida’s Gulf Coast counties and six non-voting Governor appointees. The Gulf Consortium is working in partnership with the State of Florida to recover the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The RESTORE Act, which was passed by Congress on June 29, 2012, created the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, and establishes various funding categories. The RESTORE Act is funded by Clean Water Act civil and administrative penalties paid by responsible parties from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Council is comprised of the five Gulf State Governors and six federal agencies.