August Update: Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation

UPDATE

August 21, 2014

 

Treasury Releases Interim Final Rule for the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund.  Public Comment Period Closes September 15, 2014.

 

The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) will play a key role in administering the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund which was established by the RESTORE Act.  Treasury will:

  • Establish procedures regarding the deposit, expenditure, compliance and auditing of funds associated with the RESTORE Act;
  • Administer grants for the Direct Component and Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program;
  • Conduct audits and investigations of projects, programs, and activities funded under the Act; and
  • Withhold funds if Treasury determines that trust fund monies have been used for an unauthorized purpose. 

 

Treasury developed the Interim Final Rule after considering 1,200 public comments.  A new public comment period started when the document was released on August 15 and will conclude on September 15, 2014. Highlights include:

  • Treasury will rely upon the OMB’s Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards and the language of the RESTORE Act to carry out its duties;
  • Treasury will allow awards from the Direct Component and the Spill Impact Component to be used as non-federal match but will not allow funds through other parts of the Act to be used as non-federal match;
  • Treasury did not add the term ‘long-term stewardship’ to the list of permitted activities.  However, long-term stewardship activities may be funded if proposed by one of the agencies or jurisdictions named in the Act.

 

To read the regulations, submit a comment, or read comments submitted by others, visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/08/15/2014-19324/depa....

 

Gulf Coast Restoration Fund and Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund Will Allocate Millions to Projects in Gulf States. 

 

The Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund will have $800 million in its coffers by the end of February, 2015 as part of the settlement with Transocean.  The Trust Fund will likely receive billions of dollars in fines and penalties levied on BP LLC for its role in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill but neither the amount nor the timing is known.

 

The Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund will receive $2.54 billion in regularly scheduled payments over the next five years.  The Fund expects to choose slates of projects each year in consultation with state and federal resource agencies.  Two rounds of projects have been announced in the past year, and the next round of projects will be announced in November, 2014.  The chart below shows how the funds will likely be allocated among the Gulf States. 

 

 

RESTORE

Direct Component

 

 

$280 m

RESTORE

Council

 

 

 

$240 m minus   administrative costs

RESTORE

Spill Impact

 

 

 

$240 m

(amounts have not   been announced)

 

RESTORE

NOAA Science   Program

 

$20 m

RESTORE

Centers of   Excellence

 

 

$20 m

NFWF

Gulf Environmental   Benefit Fund

 

$2.54 b 

Alabama

 

56 m

25 m

TBD

TBD

4 m

356 m

Florida

 

56 m

25 m

TBD

TBD

4 m

356 m

Louisiana

 

56 m

90 m

TBD

TBD

4 m

1.272 b

Mississippi

 

56 m

25 m

TBD

TBD

4 m

356 m

 

Texas

 

56 m

14 m

TBD

TBD

4 m

203 m

 

 

Gulf Restoration Council Policies Will Guide Funding for Comprehensive Plan.

 

The Gulf Restoration Council recently announced several policies which will govern how the Council will select programs and projects to implement the Comprehensive Plan.  According to the announcement, Council members will be able to submit projects for consideration by the end of August, 2014.   The projects that are selected will be placed on the Funded Priorities List and will be funded through fines paid by Transocean. 

 

Projects submitted for inclusion on the Funded Priorities List should focus on Habitat and Water Quality goals.  Projects will undergo a scientific evaluation, and will also be reviewed to ensure that they meet the goals of the Comprehensive Plan and that they comply with environmental regulations.  There will be a public engagement process and opportunities for public comment.  Community members may submit proposals through their State Council members.  For more information, visit:

http://www.restorethegulf.gov/release/2014/07/25/gulf-restoration-c....

 

Gulf Partnership Encourages Land Trusts and Conservation Organizations to Submit Projects.

 

The Gulf Partnership encourages all of its partner organizations to submit projects to state and federal agencies to be considered for funding through one of the oil spill restoration funding sources.  In order to be considered by the Gulf Restoration Trust Fund or the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, submit projects through the appropriate state.  The links are listed below:

http://www.alabamacoastalrestoration.org/

http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/default.htm

http://coastal.la.gov/oil-spill-content/oil-spill-overview/

http://www.restore.ms/

http://www.restorethetexascoast.org/

 

In order to be considered for funding through the Natural Resources Damages Assessment process, submit projects through the NRDA portal:

http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov/restoration/give-us-your-i....

 

Seminar Offered on Carbon Market Credits and Conservation Benefits.

 

The Pelican Coast Conservancy is offering a one day seminar on Friday, September 26 at the Marriott Grand Hotel in Point Clear, AL. This seminar will help conservation organizations generate carbon revenues to support land conservation and stewardship goals.  For more information, contact Walter Ernest at: wenerst@pelicancoastconservancy.org.

 

Longleaf Conference, Eastern Native Grass Symposium and Prescribed Fire Council Gathering to be Held October 21 – 24 in Mobile, AL.

 

This joint conference and symposium will be of interest to anyone managing or restoring longleaf pine ecosystems.  For more information, visit: http://www.cvent.com/events/our-roots-run-deep/event-summary-e7799b....

 

Rally 2014 Registration is Open. 

 

Join your fellow land conservationists at Rally: The National Land Conservation Conference in Providence, Rhode Island for great field experiences, workshops and seminars.  For more information, visit: http://www.landtrustalliance.org/training/rally.

 

Matching Funds Available through the Gulf Coast Land Conservation Project Assistance Fund (Project Assistance Fund). 

 

PGCLC member organizations are eligible for matching funds through the Project Assistance Fund to prepare land protection projects for funding through oil spill restoration programs or other sources.  PGCLC member organizations may apply for matching funds at any time.  The Fund is being administered by the Galveston Bay Foundation through a generous grant from the Knobloch Family Foundation.  For more information, contact Matthew Singer at msinger@galvbay.org or 281-332-3381 ext. 206.

Club.  

The Partnership for Gulf Coast Land Conservation is organized under the auspices of the Land Trust Alliance which provides administrative and fiscal support.  The mission of the PGCLC is to work together across the five Gulf of Mexico states to increase the pace, quality and permanence of voluntary land and water conservation in the coastal region. For more information regarding any item in this newsletter, contact Julia Weaver, Partnership Co-Coordinator.

228-219-2279 or jweaver@lta.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

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