By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, November 10, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) announced that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has approved more than $21 million for five Alabama projects that address high priority conservation needs to restore some of Alabama’s natural resources affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.
Governor Bentley said, “The Gulf Coast of Alabama is one of the State’s greatest natural treasures, and it is important we restore it from the devastation caused by the 2010 oil spill. The $21 million we will receive from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will support our continued long-term recovery efforts from the adverse effects of the oil spill. I appreciate the unified effort of our local, state and federal partners who are working with us in this long-term recovery process to restore the Alabama Gulf Coast.”
In 2013, a US District Court approved two plea agreements resolving certain criminal charges against BP and Transocean related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The funds announced Tuesday are the third installment from NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund. A total of $356 million will be paid into the Gulf Fund over a five year period for conservation projects in the State of Alabama. These projects are from the third round of grants from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund.
Federal agencies approved the projects which were developed in consultation with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The 2015 Alabama projects include: $2.1 million for multifaceted fisheries and ecosystem monitoring in Alabama; $1.7 million to acquire three parcels consisting of 647 acres of priority coastal habitat in southwestern Mobile County; $300,000 for to do preparations for Mobile Bay Shore Habitat Conservation and Acquisition Initiative Phase I; $4.2 million to acquire 233 acres near the mouth of the Fowl River on Mobile Bay; and $12 million to fund the enhancement and expansion of the state’s artificial reef program to improve habitats for reef fish and other species in coastal Alabama.
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner N. Gunter Guy, Jr. said, “As part of our ongoing efforts to restore and protect Alabama’s natural resources, these projects are the culmination of a great deal of hard work and coordination with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, as well as the grant recipients. Coupled with those projects funded in earlier rounds, this third phase of funding through the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund moves us one step closer to a more resilient coastal Alabama.”