Groups Recommend Project for the RESTORE Council
28 Stones ♦ Alabama Chapter Sierra Club/Mobile Bay Group Sierra Club ♦ Alabama Coastal Heritage Trust ♦ Alabama Rivers Alliance ♦ Apalachicola Riverkeeper ♦ Asian Americans for Change ♦ Biloxi NAACP ♦ Coastal Women for Change ♦ Conservation Alabama ♦ Friends of Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge ♦ Global Green USA ♦ Gulf Island Conservancy ♦ Gulf Restoration Network ♦ Immaculate Heart Community Development Corp., Inc. ♦ Jo Billups ♦ Mobile Baykeeper ♦ Moving Forward Gulf Coast, Inc. ♦ On Wings Of Care, Inc. ♦ Southern Mutual Help Association ♦ SouthWings ♦ Steps Coalition ♦ Turkey Creek Community Initiative ♦ Weeks Bay Foundation
December 10, 2012
The undersigned organizations and individuals write to provide some suggestions for restoration projects that are appropriate for funding under the RESTORE Act. It is imperative that the Council creates a unified, comprehensive environmental restoration plan that is based on science and delineates a focused vision for a resilient Gulf Coast. There are many worthy individual projects to be considered, but only those projects that fit within a broad vision for coastal and marine resiliency - ones that address systemic enhancement, restoration and protection of our coastal and marine resources -- should be implemented,. As the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council plans its first meeting to develop \the comprehensive plan called for in the legislation, we urge you to consider the projects we have listed as examples of the types of projects that, if funded, could provide not only necessary ecosystem restoration but also would have economic and job creation benefits for coastal communities.
We encourage the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council to adopt the restoration strategy and Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Science Assessment and Needs document developed by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (GCERTF) Science Coordination Team. The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council should then build on the work of this team of experts to create a coordinated, robust, gulf-wide ecosystem restoration implementation plan with recommendations for specific projects to restore both coastal and marine resources.
Funding decisions should be made using a selection and evaluation framework that is made publicly available for review and that accomplishes the following:
- Address long-term recovery goals such as prevention of or recovery from oil spills, preservation/restoration of fish and wildlife, restoration of use, protection of public health;
- Have a Gulf-wide or Regional benefit;
- Address root causes of issues, not symptoms; and
- Have specific deliverables and measurable objectives.
. All projects subject to consideration should be subject to rigorous scrutiny to ensure that restoration projects chosen have a broad scope of positive environmental impacts on the many coastal resources of the Gulf of Mexico and will bring enduring positive change to our coastal and marine ecosystems. We believe that the attached portfolio of projects meets these criteria and should rise to the top for consideration for funding
There exists in Gulf coast communities a considerable amount of expertise and local knowledge that will be critical in implementing a long-term restoration strategy that will protect and restore the ecosystem and economies of these communities. The RESTORE Act allows the establishment of advisory committees to assist the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council on public policy issues. We urge the Council to create these committees as soon as possible so that citizens can provide insight and thoughts on the council strategy document prior to its release in 2013.
 Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Science Assessment and Needs http://www.epa.gov/gcertf/pdfs/GCERTF-Book-Final-042712.pdf
 United States. Cong. Conference. Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act of 2012. 112th Cong., 2nd sess. H.R. 4348, Subtitle F—Gulf Coast Restoration, SEC. 1603 (3t)(2)(C)(vii)(III) P.192
 The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force called for a Citizen Advisory Committee for which conservation and community organizations created a framework for selecting members. Those recommendations can be found here http://www.gulffuture.org/images/stories/Final_CAC_Sign_On.pdf