Google+

Gulf Coast Task Force Releases Ecosystem Restoration Strategy For Public Review

CONTACT
EPA Press Office
202-564-4355

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2011

Gulf Coast Task Force Releases Ecosystem Restoration Strategy For Public Review

Agenda outlines blueprint for reversing decline of Gulf Coast ecosystem

WASHINGTON – The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, chaired by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, today released for public review and feedback its comprehensive preliminary strategy for long term ecosystem restoration. The strategy, which will be presented to President Obama at the end of the public review period, represents an historic opportunity for addressing long-standing issues contributing to the decline of the Gulf’s critical ecosystem.  The preliminary strategy is the first effort of its kind to be developed with the involvement of parties throughout the region, including the states, tribes, federal agencies, local governments and thousands of interested citizens and organizations. The plan strategy, which builds upon on-going efforts underway in the Gulf Coast states includes specific steps for on-the-ground action and represents the Task Force’s commitment to putting Gulf coastal restoration on an equal footing with other national priorities.

One year ago today, President Obama established the Task Force by executive order, in response to recommendations from a report by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, to continue the Administration’s ongoing commitment to the Gulf region. The group is made up of representatives from the five Gulf States and 11 federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Council on Environmental Quality, Department of the Interior, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Agriculture, Department of Justice, Department of Transportation, Office of Management and Budget, Office of Science and Technology Policy and Domestic Policy Council.

“Even before last year’s oil spill, the Gulf of Mexico endured decades of decline that threatened the environmental and economic health of this region. This strategy is designed to prepare the region for transitioning from a response to the spill into a long-term recovery that supports the vital ecosystem and the people who depend on it,” said Administrator Jackson. “The health of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem starts and ends with its people and its communities. The individuals and families who visit the Gulf, who work in the region, who depend on its resources, and especially those who call it home, know its needs and challenges best. They will be integral to creating and executing this long-term strategy.”

“The Task Force’s draft strategy identifies fundamental obstacles that have plagued restoration and protection efforts in Louisiana and other states for decades.  The report attempts to begin reversing 80 years of mismanagement,” said Garret Graves, Task Force vice-chair and chair of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana.  “It identifies critical issues such as changes in river management, the use of dredged sediment, navigation channel bank stabilization, and the need to expedite the snail’s pace process of implementing water resources projects.  History has proven that being reactive on disaster mitigation costs exponentially more.  This report is an important first step in moving toward a proactive strategy as recognized through the implementation of the state’s coastal master plan.  There is much work still left to be done and we look forward to continuing to work with Task Force agencies and our fellow Gulf States to finally stabilize our coast and protect the Gulf communities.”

The natural resources of the Gulf’s ecosystem are vital to many of the region’s industries that directly support economic progress and job creation, including tourism and recreation, seafood production and sales, energy production and navigation and commerce.  Among the major initiatives with specific actions recommended by the preliminary strategy to protect and restore those natural resources are:

•    Stopping the Loss of Wetlands

Stopping the loss of critical wetlands, sand barriers and beaches is a key recommendation of the preliminary strategy. Key habitats for a wide range of fish and other animals are being lost or reduced across the Gulf.  The creation of channels and levees from dredging in the Lower Mississippi often can “disconnect” the vast wetland delta from the source of sediments that built the delta over thousands of years.   The strategy aims to restore the supply of sediments needed to build up eroding wetlands and to ultimately reconnect these valuable resources to their historic source of sediments, particularly in the Lower Mississippi.  To help do this, the strategy recommends placing ecosystem restoration on an equal footing with historic uses such as navigation and flood damage reduction by approaching water resource management decisions in a far more comprehensive manner that will bypass harm to wetlands, barrier islands and beaches. The strategy also recommends implementation of several congressionally authorized projects in the Gulf that are intended to reverse the trend of wetlands loss.

•    Reducing the Flow of Nutrients into the Gulf

The strategy calls for working in the Gulf and upstream in the Mississippi watershed to reduce the flow of nutrients into the Gulf by supporting state nutrient reduction frameworks, new nutrient reduction approaches, and targeted watershed work to reduce agricultural and urban sources of nutrients.  The strategy recommends addressing the complex issues surrounding the transport of nutrients in excess to our Gulf coast by broadly supporting action-oriented innovations from all sectors that address both the environmental as well as the economics of effective nutrient management.

•    Enhancing Resiliency Among Coastal Communities

The strategy calls for enhancing the quality of life of Gulf residents by working in partnership with Gulf with coastal communities themselves — the living laboratories for facing the challenges posed.  The strategy specifically recommends working with each of the States to build the integrated capacity needed through effective coastal improvement plans to better secure the future of their coastal communities and to implement existing efforts underway.

Additionally, the Task Force will begin immediately reviewing existing policies, programs and regulations that are slowing down restoration progress, particularly in the habitat restoration area.  The Task Force will also explore innovative ways to implement restoration, measure success and support the restoration with science.

The following are statements on the release of the preliminary strategy from representatives of the member states on the task force:

N. Gunter Guy, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said, “The combined efforts of the federal and state members of the Task Force have resulted in the release of a preliminary strategy focused on restoring the Gulf Coast ecosystem.  Alabama looks forward to receiving feedback from the public on the strategy and commits to continue working to improve Alabama’s Gulf Coast communities and protecting its natural resources.”

Mimi A. Drew, Florida’s representative on the task force and Special Advisor to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard, Jr. said, “Today’s release of this important report is the culmination of more than a year’s worth of collaboration and hard work to identify priorities and a strategy to improve, restore and protect the fragile and vital Gulf ecosystem. The Gulf of Mexico provides huge environmental and economic benefits to Florida and we look forward to input from the public to refine this plan.”

Trudy D. Fisher, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality said, “The Task Force marked an unprecedented commitment at the federal and state levels to create a shared vision for a healthier Gulf Coast ecosystem. We are confident that the resulting strategy will set the stage for future cooperation and success.  Mississippi will be a critical partner as the work continues.”

Helen S. Young, Deputy Commissioner of Coastal Resources in the Texas General Land Office commented, “The collaborative federal, state, and local process that involved visits to the five Gulf states and listening sessions with locals highlighted the states’ shared issues and unique needs.  For instance, it emphasized the importance of Texas’s barrier islands, which are the first line of defense against storm surge like Hurricane Ike produced in 2008, making it the second costliest hurricane in recent times with damage of $127 billion.  The Strategy also underscores the significance of the Gulf of Mexico to the national economy and identifies the issues of greatest concern for the region.  Restoration efforts based on the strategy will help ensure that these critical environmental and economic resources remain viable.”

This preliminary strategy represents the Task Force’s strong commitment to the restoration of the Gulf Coast.  The strategy was developed following more than 40 public meetings throughout the Gulf to listen to the concerns of the public. It is available to the public for review and feedback at www.epa.gov/gulfcoasttaskforce, until 11:59 p.m. EST October 26, 2011.  The Task Force will release the final version in December.

REQUEST INFORMATION

Entertainment

Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale Co-Star in WWI Docudrama

  The Promise DVD Review by Kam Williams Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale Co-Star in WWI Docudrama It's Eastern Turkey in 1914, which is where we find druggist Mikael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac) plying his trade in his half-Armenian/half-Turkish village where Christians and Muslims get along swell. The ambitious, young apothecary would really rather be a doctor, so he strategically courts a neighbor (Angela Sarafyan) from a relatively-wealthy … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

Book of Black Heroes

  Book of Black Heroes Political Leaders Past and Present by Gil L. Robertson, IV Foreword by Myrlie Evers-Williams Just Us Books Paperback, $12.95 80 pages ISBN: 978-1-933491-21-9 Book Review by Kam Williams “The first African-American political leaders began to serve following the Civil War...Known as Reconstruction, this period represented a window of opportunity for African-Americans... Many [Black] political leaders emerged … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

Real Estate: Refinancing Rates on the Rise in 2017

  Real Estate: Refinancing Rates on the Rise in 2017 by Amy Lignor   The term ‘meteoric rise’ usually applies to something fun. Think: A Hollywood actor who has been ‘discovered.’) Unfortunately, when it comes to this article, ‘meteoric rise’ is something that will not bring a smile to one’s face. To put it simply, if you wish to refinance your home, you need to do it ASAP. If choosing to wait too much longer, homeowners across the … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Healthy Living: The Cellphone Guide

  Healthy Living: The Cellphone Guide by Amy Lignor   Much like the political realm, there will always be debates and disagreements when it comes to the technological realm—especially when it comes to your health versus the almighty cellphone. Now, it is a fact that communication in the 21st century literally brought about a revolution. Mobile devices are being used and will remain at the top of “must have” lists for all ages for … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Choosing Binoculars for the Ultimate 2017 Hunt

  Choosing Binoculars for the Ultimate 2017 Hunt Any hunter will tell you the most important choices to make when going for that ultimate successful hunt comes from the little things. Yes, the guns, the location for the hunt, the clothing that’s best for the winter and/or summer hunt – all of these things are on the hunter’s ‘must-buy’ list. But there is one other thing that is just as important: the binoculars. As you slowly develop … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

Esports on a Meteoric Rise in 2017

  Esports on a Meteoric Rise in 2017 by Amy Lignor   Okay…we all know that football is America’s favorite sport. Or…is it? NASCAR has a wide following. People still love to go to the ballpark in the lazy summer days to watch a Yankee hit a homerun. There are those who love to practically melt in the summer watching the Williams’ sisters prove that tennis is a ‘cool’ sport. And, there are gazillions of soccer fans all over the globe … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Is Social Media Still Growing?

  Is Social Media Still Growing? by Amy Lignor   It was in 1999, Bill Gates wrote a book titled, “Business @ the Speed of Thought.” Within these pages, the man who became the computer world’s wizard made massively bold predictions that, at the time, sounded ridiculous and outrageous to those who read them. But when you look at how the social media realm has grown over the past few decades, it is important to take note that not only … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Vacation Locations: Knowledge is Fun Too!

  Vacation Locations: Knowledge is Fun Too! by Amy Lignor   Most children (and adults, too) will either roll their eyes or sigh when, while speaking about vacation locations, the word “learning” just happens to be mentioned. Yes, it is a fact that school trips take all of us during our younger years to everything from museums to libraries to historic locations in order to teach us things we should know. But when thinking about your … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

  Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden by Amy Lignor   Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible – is already jotting down the facts, tricks and tips they need to know in order to make that … [Read More its Good for You...]

Trackbacks

  1. […] sum land loss—is to put many of a income from BP penalties into restoration projects. A new report from a presidentially-appointed Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force lays out a goals for […]

  2. […] loss—is to put most of the money from BP penalties into restoration projects. A new report from the presidentially-appointed Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force lays out the goals […]

  3. […] from its regulations on pollution. It’s good to see that the EPA has released its restoration plan for the Gulf Coast. And is overseeing the clean-up of an oil spill on the Kalamazoo River. And […]

  4. […] land loss — is to put most of the money from BP penalties into restoration projects. A new report from the presidentially-appointed Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force lays out the goals […]