The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council has approved the Initial Comprehensive Plan.
More than 600 people attended the RESTORE Council meeting on Wednesday, August 28, 2013, in New Orleans.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Chair of the Council, presided over the meeting, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal gave opening remarks. Governor Jindal thanked the RESTORE Council for its work on the plan.
The Restore Council will use the Goals, Objectives, and Evaluation Criteria of the Plan to guide its ecosystem restoration funding decisions. The Goals provide the Council’s desired long-term outcomes for Gulf Coast restoration; the Objectives outline the broad types of activities that are expected to achieve the Goals and will be refined over time to be more specific and measurable as more information is known about the ultimate amount and availability of funding. The Evaluation Criteria will be used to evaluate proposals and give highest priority to the programs/projects that best achieve comprehensive, sustainable ecosystem restoration.
In addition to voting on the Plan, the Council heard from some of its key restoration partners, including representatives from the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Trustees, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) RESTORE Science Program about their Gulf restoration efforts.
The Draft Plan and the accompanying Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment were available for public comment on May 23, 2013, and comments were accepted through July 8, 2013. In June, the Council held public engagement sessions in each of the five impacted Gulf States to ensure the public had an opportunity to submit input on the Draft Plan and the Council’s future restoration planning efforts. In addition, the Council has hosted several Tribal engagement sessions including one on the Draft Plan in June.
The following materials are available for download to the public: