Below are updates to Natural Resource Damage Assessment, RESTORE Act, and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund restoration activities in Florida.
Florida Trustee Implementation Group Holding Annual Public Meeting at November 14 Restoration Summit
The Florida Trustee Implementation Group held its annual public meeting on November 14, 2019 at the Emerald Coast Convention Center in Fort Walton Beach as part of the Florida Deepwater Horizon Restoration Summit.
The Summit highlighted information about ongoing, planned and potential restoration efforts and priorities associated with all Deepwater Horizon funding streams, including the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) program. There will also be opportunities to engage with various agency staff, including at an open house.
Submit Project Ideas for Florida’s Next Restoration Plan
The Florida Trustee Implementation Group invites you to submit project ideas for restoration in Florida.
The Florida Trustee Implementation Group will accept project ideas for the upcoming Restoration Plan 2 until September 20, 2019. Ideas should focus on the following goals and restoration types as described in the Trustees’ Programmatic Restoration Plan (specific sections to reference are identified under each listed goal):
Goal: Restore and Conserve Habitat
Restoration Type: Habitat Projects on Federally Managed Lands: focuses on the habitats that were injured on lands managed by federal agencies, which in Florida includes restoration of dunes and beaches at Gulf Islands National Seashore and St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge. (Programmatic Restoration Plan Sections 5.5.3 and 5.D.1)
Goal: Replenish and Protect Living Coastal and Marine Resources
Restoration Type: Oysters: will address the range of injuries to oysters, emphasizing projects that address recruitment issues. For this restoration plan, we are requesting project ideas that address development and implementation of habitat suitability studies. (Programmatic Restoration Plan Sections 5.5.9 and the Strategic Framework for Oyster Restoration Activities)
Restoration Type: Sea Turtles: will address the key threats to sea turtles and emphasize activities that are consistent with their recovery plans. For this restoration plan, we are requesting project submissions that address the following:Florida Panhandle (from Escambia to Franklin County) only:
Reducing beachfront lighting by implementing programs and coordinating with local municipalities to minimize artificial lighting visible from the nesting beach.
Removal of abandoned or derelict fishing gear or other permanent/semi-permanent materials that create an entanglement or entrapment risk to sea turtles or that act as barriers to sea turtle nesting.
Evaluating, developing, and implementing conservation measures to reduce sea turtle bycatch in pier- and shore-based recreational fisheries.
Activities that minimize sea turtle vessel strikes in areas of critical importance for sea turtles and areas previously identified as vessel strike hot spots.
Characterize the scale and potential impacts of commercial and recreational fisheries in Florida relative to sea turtle bycatch.
(Programmatic Restoration Plan Sections 5.5.10, 5.D.4.1, 5.D.4.3, 5.D.4.4, and 5.D.4.7 and the Strategic Framework for Sea Turtle Restoration Activities Module 4 – Approach 1: Technique 5, Approach 3: Techniques 2 and 6, Approach 4: Technique 1, Approach 6: Technique 6, and Approach 7: Technique 2)
Restoration Type: Marine Mammals: will address stressors that cause mortality (death) and morbidity (illness that reduces fitness) to marine mammal stocks. For this restoration plan, we are requesting project submissions that address the following:
Reducing lethal and harmful impacts on dolphins from hook-and-line fishing activities and related mortalities from retaliation.
Addressing gaps and enhance capacity in the current capabilities of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network throughout the Gulf of Mexico to improve timeliness of response and diagnosis of illness and cause of death.
Improve the ability of stranding network partners to detect and rescue free-swimming marine mammals that are entangled, entrapped, or out of habitat.
Reducing lethal and harmful impacts on dolphins from illegal feeding activities by effectively changing human behaviors.
(Programmatic Restoration Plan Sections 5.5.11, 5.D.5.2, 5.D.5.3, 5.D.5.5, and 5.D.5.7 and the Strategic Framework for Marine Mammals Restoration Activities Module 4 - Approach 2.3: Technique 2.3.1, Approach 2.4: Techniques 2.4.1 and 2.4.4, and Approach 2.6: Technique 2.6.1)
Restoration Type: Birds: will enhance bird reproductive success and survival. For this restoration plan, we are requesting project submissions that address the following:
Nesting and foraging area stewardship.
Create or enhance intertidal oyster shell rakes and beds.
Enhance habitat through vegetation management.
Nesting and foraging area stewardship.
Provide or enhance artificial nest sites.
Create or enhance coastal wetlands through placement of dredged material.
Restore or construct barrier and coastal islands and headlands via placement of dredged sediments.
Acquire lands for conservation.
Develop and implement management actions in conservation areas and/or restoration projects.
Translocate chicks and/or attracting breeding adults to restoration sites.
(Programmatic Restoration Plan Sections 5.5.12 and 5.D.6.1 and the Strategic Framework for Bird Restoration Activities Module 4 - Approaches 1 and 2)
Goal: Provide and Enhance Recreational Opportunities
Restoration Type: Provide and Enhance Recreational Opportunities: provides recreational opportunities through infrastructure, access and education. For this restoration plan, we are requesting project submissions that enhance recreational fishing opportunities. (Programmatic Restoration Plan Sections 5.5.14 and 5.D.8)
Additional information about these restoration types is available in Chapter 5 of the programmatic restoration plan and the Strategic Frameworks for Oysters, Sea Turtles, Marine Mammals, and Birds. In particular, please refer to Chapter 5 sections 5.5.3, 5.5.9 – 5.5.12, and 5.5.14 and Appendix D sections 5.D.1, 5.D.4, 5.D.5, 5.D.6, and 5.D.8 for guidance on our goals, restoration strategies, and implementation considerations for each of these restoration types.
We may choose to focus on a subset of these restoration types as planning progresses. In addition, we may apply the following additional criteria to evaluate proposed ideas:
Restoration projects will seek to leverage other restoration projects and activities, including, but not limited to, Deepwater Horizon early restoration, RESTORE Act and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund.
Submit Your Project Ideas
You may submit a new project idea or a revision of a previously submitted project idea through the Trustee Council’s portal or the Deepwater Horizon Florida portal. We will also consider projects that pertain to multiple restoration types or that will be implemented in phases—these submittals should include information about all project phases. We will consider your project proposals and may develop one or more draft restoration plans. We may also develop our own restoration projects for consideration.
Project ideas submitted by September 20 will be considered in development of Restoration Plan 2. We will also consider previously submitted project ideas to either of the above portals. Project ideas submitted after the deadline will be considered in future planning. This planning period is anticipated to utilize a portion of the settlement funds, including years three, four, and part of five, for the specified restoration types.
If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact Amy Raker, Amy.Raker@myfwc.com.
Florida Restoration Area Draft Phase V.3 Plan Released
Florida Trustee Implementation Group Proposes Third Phase of the Florida Coastal Access Project
The Florida Trustee Implementation Group released a draft restoration plan proposing the third phase of the Florida Coastal Access Project for public review and comment. The Draft Phase V.3 Restoration Plan and Supplemental Environmental Assessment (Draft Phase V.3 Plan) proposes one additional recreational use project: the acquisition of a coastal parcel of land, the Navarre Beach Marine Park Addition. The parcel is an inholding within the existing Navarre Beach Marine Park property and acquisition would enhance the public’s access to the surrounding natural resources and increase recreational opportunities. The public comment period is open until July 22, 2019, and we’re holding a public meeting on the draft plan on July 18.
This draft restoration plan is consistent with the Trustees’ programmatic restoration plan and supplements the first and second phases of the Florida Coastal Access Project. The first phase of the project, described in the Phase V Early Restoration Plan, included acquisition and/or enhancement of four coastal parcels, and the second phase, described in the Phase V.2 Restoration Plan, included acquisition and enhancement of recreational amenities at one coastal parcel in the Florida Panhandle. The Florida Coastal Access Project addresses a portion of the lost recreational use in Florida caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Public Comment Period and Meeting
The Florida Trustee Implementation Group is seeking public comment on this draft restoration plan until July 22, 2019 and will hold a public meeting to present the plan and receive comments on July 18. The meeting will include an open house during which Trustee representatives can answer questions about the proposal. This will be followed by a formal public meeting, during which members of the public are invited to provide oral and/or written comments on the proposed acquisition. Meeting information follows:
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.