The following is a statement from Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr.:
As we mark the two-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill we should reflect on the 11 lives lost and the impact to the Gulf Coast environment and economy. Despite the passage of time, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is as committed as ever to ensuring Florida’s coastal areas are clean and oil-free. We have made significant progress over the past two years to clean up our beaches, and we will continue to work with BP to make sure every stretch of Florida’s coastline is as pristine as it was before the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process, we’ve identified the first two important restoration projects that will begin construction later this summer and be the first step in helping make Floridians whole. These initial projects include a dune restoration project on Pensacola Beach and four boat ramp construction projects in Escambia County, totaling up to $5.7 million.
DEP is also committed, along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the other Gulf States, to implementing restoration projects quickly. Over the next few months we will be working to identify the next phase of restoration projects in Florida, which will include an open and transparent public comment process.
While our primary focus along the majority of the coastline is on restoration efforts, the state continues to partner with the U.S. Coast Guard to clean-up the remaining oil on Florida’s shoreline. Through the response efforts, more than 2.8 million pounds of oil have been removed from Florida’s coastline since the 2010 incident, and we continue to make significant progress in our efforts to identify areas that need additional cleanup.
Florida’s commitment to ensuring a full environmental and economic recovery for the Gulf Coast is unwavering. We would not be able to complete this process without the support of our wonderful local government partners. DEP will continue to work toward solutions that ensure Florida’s environment is appropriately cleaned up and compensated for damages caused by this tragic event.
Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Trustees Announce Major Progress in Gulf Restoration Effort
An estimated $60 million in early restoration projects soon will begin along the Gulf Coast following the nation’s largest oil spill, the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustee Council announced today.
With finalization of the “Deepwater Horizon Phase I Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Assessment” (ERP/EA), eight restoration projects will be implemented. The projects provide for marsh creation, coastal dune habitat improvements, nearshore artificial reef creation, and oyster cultch restoration, as well as the construction and enhancement of boat ramps to compensate for lost human use of resources.
The comments, as well as trustee responses to them, are included in the Phase I plan, which can be reviewed at Gulf Spill Restoration and Deepwater Horizon Response and Restoration. The NOAA Gulf Spill Restoration site also provides additional information about restoration planning and a status update on the ongoing damage assessment.
“Florida’s focus on early restoration has been to ensure environmental impacts are addressed as well as to make up for the loss of access to our natural resources by residents and visitors alike,” said Florida trustee representative Mimi A. Drew, special advisor to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard, Jr. “Public confidence in a healthy, high-quality environment in Florida is vital to ensuring a healthy economy.”
View Aug. 24, 2012 press release.
View April 30, 2012 press release.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Response & Restoration
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the lead state agency for responding to impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill along Florida’s shoreline and is playing a key role in the restoration process. The environment and the public have a right to be made whole again following an injury to natural resources from an oil spill incident.
DEP is playing a key role in the restoration of Florida’s coastline. DEP is the lead designated trustee for the state of Florida, along with co-trustee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Trustee Council and has a representative member on the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. The Natural Resource Damage Assessment is a legal process to determine the type and amount of restoration needed to compensate the public for harm to natural resources and their human uses that occur as a result of an oil spill incident or a hazardous substance release. The Trustee Council and Task Force are working together to evaluate the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon spill on natural resources and working on behalf of the public to restore, replace, rehabilitate or acquire the equivalent of these resources.
DEP and state emergency management officials continue to coordinate with federal, state and local partners to ensure that any continuing impacts to Florida’s coastline are removed quickly and efficiently.
Deepwater Horizon Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Assessment Project Announcment, Dec. 14, 2011
On Dec. 14, the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (Trustees) released the Deepwater Horizon Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Assessment (DERP/EA) for formal public comment. It is the first in an anticipated series of plans to begin restoration of the Gulf of Mexico to compensate for natural resource injuries, including the loss of human use of Gulf resources, from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Florida’s public comment session will be held Wednesday, Jan. 11 and Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.
Florida’s projects include:
- Florida Boat Ramp Enhancement and Construction – Escambia County, Florida; four boat ramp facilities; benefitting human use in Escambia County, Florida; estimated cost: $4,406,309.
- Florida (Pensacola Beach) Dune Restoration – Escambia County, Florida; 20 acres of coastal dune habitat; benefitting coastal dune habitat in Escambia County, Florida; estimated cost: $585,898.
The following is a statement from Governor Rick Scott regarding Florida’s two Oil Spill Early Restoration Projects.
“Forida’s first two projects are important to restoring the natural resources of the Gulf Coast and helping businesses and tourism recover from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.These projects will address damage to the environment, as well as loss of recreational and outdoor opportunities. Restoring these damages is vital to the communities of the Gulf Coast.
“I want to commend my fellow Trustees for their collaborative efforts, and pledge Florida’s continued support as we move into the next phase of restoration. Working together with our state, local and federal partners, we can continue to help our coastal communities with their recovery. Florida’s projects will help local economies by creating more opportunities to get our Gulf Coast citizens back to work.”
The following is a statmentment from Mimi A. Drew, Special Advisor to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard, Jr. and member of the Trustee Council speaking on behalf of the Florida trustees.
“This is an important first step in the process of starting restoration of the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. We appreciate the hard work and input of our fellow trustees, local governments and stakeholders that helped us to identify these projects, and look forward to the continued collaboration with these groups both at our upcoming public meetings and throughout the restoration process.”
View press release.
Deepwater Horizon Phase II Draft Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Review public input for next round of gulf restoration, Nov. 8, 2012
The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees have released the Deepwater Horizon Phase II Draft Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Review 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.
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:
- A 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.
Public meetings are scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Nov. 13, 2012 at the Escambia County Central Complex Building in Room 104: 3363 West Park Place, Pensacola.
View press release.
What others are saying
“The trustees rightly recognize the urgent need for a comprehensive strategy that puts BP’s $1 billion down payment on the Natural Resource Damage Assessment to work quickly restoring Gulf ecosystems and communities that were impacted by the oil disaster. We look forward to working with them to review and hone the draft plan to advance projects that support comprehensive restoration.”