Conservation News for the Gulf of Mexico Region
November 3, 2016
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program Seeks 2017 Gulf Guardian Nominations.
The Gulf Guardian Awards recognize environmental excellence towards achieving and preserving healthy and resilient coasts in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. The deadline to submit nominations has been extended until November 21, 2017. For more information, visit the Gulf of Mexico Program website.
Louisiana Officials Propose Six Projects for Natural Resources Damages Assessment (NRDA) Funding, Invite Public Comment.
Restoration types and geographic areas prioritized for this plan include:
• Restore and Conserve Habitat—Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, in Barataria Basin,
• Restore and Conserve Habitat—Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, in Terrebonne Basin;
• Restore and Conserve Habitat—Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, in Pontchartrain Basin;
• Restore and Conserve Habitat—Habitat projects on Federally Managed Lands, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve; and
• Replenish and Protect Living Coastal and Marine Resources—Birds, Queen Bess Island and Rabbit Island.
The public can comment on the draft plan through Nov. 21, and after the comments are reviewed, a final version of the plan will be released. For more information, read the draft restoration plan. Comments may be submitted here.
Nonprofit Coalitions Release Restoration Frameworks for Alabama and Mississippi.
Networks of conservation and community groups have been working together in each of the 5 Gulf States since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The networks in Mississippi and Alabama recently released their respective visions for continued restoration. Each of the Restoration Frameworks reflects a set of shared priorities for investing recovery monies to benefit coastal and marine resources as well as the livelihoods, businesses, and communities that depend on a healthy Gulf Coast. These recommendations are meant to be part of the ongoing dialogue with state and federal decision-makers, community and elected leaders, the public, and others, in support of robust, transformational Gulf recovery.
To learn more, view Alabama’s document: Environment-Community-Economy: A Proposed Restoration Framework to Benefit Coastal Alabama's Triple Bottom Line. View Mississippi’s document here: Restoration Framework: A Vision to Support Comprehensive Restoration for Coastal Mississippi.
Florida Conservation Leaders Celebrate the Protection of 11,000 acres in the St. Marks River Ecosystem.
On October 25, Governor Rick Scott and Cabinet members agreed to purchase the 11,027-acre Horn Spring property, located within Leon and Jefferson counties. The property is a major wildlife corridor, connecting St. Marks River Preserve State Park, Fanlew Preserve, Aucilla Wildlife Management Area and Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park. The project will protect water resources, with 10 known springs on the property, protect 12 known historic sites, and provide a variety of public recreational and educational opportunities. This project is the largest Florida Forever acquisition since 2006. The project was supported by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, and Audubon Florida, among others. Visit the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to read the full announcement.
2016 Rally, the National Land Conservation Conference Wrapped Up in Minneapolis, MN.
The Land Trust Alliance hosted nearly 2,000 land conservation practitioners for three days of education and inspiration in late October. If you want to keep up with the latest thinking on climate change, community conservation, and strategies for keeping your organization effective, check out the conference materials at http://tlc.lta.org/library/conferences/rally/year/2016.
Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program Announces 2017 Grant Opportunity.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, State and Private Forestry, Cooperative Forestry staff, requests applications for the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (Community Forest Program or CFP). Local governments, qualified nonprofit organizations, and Indian tribes are eligible to apply. The purpose of the program is to establish community forests by protecting forest land from conversion to non-forest uses and provide community benefits such as sustainable forest management, environmental benefits including clean air, water, and wildlife habitat; benefits from forest-based educational programs; benefits from serving as models of effective forest stewardship; and recreational benefits secured with public access. Eligible lands are private forest that is at least five acres in size, suitable to sustain natural vegetation, and at least 75 percent forested. The lands must also be threatened by conversion to non-forest uses. The deadline is February 17 and nonprofits must submit their applications through their State Forester. For more information, visit the Community Forest Program website.
Healthy Watershed Consortium Grant Program Deadline Set for February 1, 2017.
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) seeks applications for the 2017 Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program. The goal of the program is to accelerate strategic protection of healthy, freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds. The primary focus for applicants should be protection and stewardship of the landscape that comprises the watershed, rather than restoration of degraded habitats or projects with a strictly water quality improvement outcome. For more information, read the full grant announcement here.
Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Restoration Summit to be held on November 15, 2016.
On November 15, 2016, MDEQ will host the inaugural Restoration Summit at the Biloxi Convention Center from 2:30 pm – 8:30 pm. The Restoration Summit will feature a session on the major funding sources, a presentation on current restoration projects, as well as opportunities for the public to provide input for future restoration efforts. For more information and a detailed agenda, visit the Restore Mississippi website.
University of Florida Levin College of Law to Host the 23rd annual Public Interest Environmental Conference on February 9 – 11, 2017.
The theme of the 2017 conference is land conservation. The conference will bring together legal practitioners, academics, policy makers, and private citizens to examine the challenges, concerns, and future of land conservation law and policy from a regional and national standpoint. The conference will be held in Gainesville, Florida. For more information, visit the conference webpage
Texas Land Conservation Conference, March 1 – 3, 2017
The Texas Land Trust Council (TLTC) will host the 21st Annual Texas Land Conservation Conference March 1 - 3, 2017 at the Hilton Austin Airport Hotel. TLTC’s goal for each conference is to deliver diverse, innovative, and relevant education to land conservation organizations, public agency partners, landowners, and professional colleagues throughout the state. The 2017 conference will feature a panel session on Deepwater Horizon investments in restoration and conservation on the Texas coast. Details soon! Learn more about the conference here.
Restoration News by State, Courtesy of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance.
Alabama. Follow restoration activities with the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) here.
Mississippi. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has updated Making Mississippi Whole. The site now contains a new Transparency Database.
Florida. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) maintains a website complete with latest updates, resources, links, and newsletters, including an overview of Florida's response to the oil spill. Each impacted county engages directly with their communities through the Gulf Consortium and the Florida Association of Counties.
Louisiana. The State of Louisiana is represented by the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) on state and RESTORE Council restoration activities. View all news, activities and calendar notices on the CPRA website.
Texas. Oil spill restoration information in Texas and related items can be found on the website www.restorethetexascoast.org.
The Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation is a coalition of more than two dozen land conservation organizations whose shared mission is to increase the pace, quality and permanence of voluntary land and water conservation in the Gulf of Mexico region. The Gulf Partnership is led by an Executive Committee comprised of leaders from our partner organizations. The Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain serves as our fiscal agent. Find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GulfPartnership and visit our website at http://gulfpartnership.org. For more information regarding any item in this newsletter, contact Julia Weaver at 228-219-2279 or firstname.lastname@example.org.