Photo by Lauren Harper
RESTORE Council - In October, the Council concluded a public comment period on their Draft Comprehensive Plan Update. Public meeting summaries are now available. Read RESTORE Council Chair USDA Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack's October 20th blog post on a healthy Gulf. Information on this and other Council activity is on their website RestoreTheGulf.gov.
In Texas - The Request for Grant Applications (RFGA) for the RESTORE Direct Component (Bucket 1) grant funds are still being reviewed. Check www.restorethetexascoast.org regularly for the anticipated release of selected projects.
The Bucket 1 Review Team has submitted its evaluations of the more than 200 project applications, totaling approximately $3.4 billion, received in response to the RFGA for the RESTORE Direct Component (Bucket 1) grant funds. As a reminder, the Bucket 1 Review Team consisted of representatives from several state agencies and the Governor’s Office. Commissioner Baker is in the process of reviewing those completed evaluations and the applications to identify potential projects for funding.
Following Baker’s review, and in collaboration with the Governor, a draft project list will be selected for inclusion in the State’s Multi-Year Implementation Plan (MIP). Under the RESTORE Act this plan is required to secure project funding and will be posted for public comment prior to submission to U.S. Treasury.
Please continue to visit this website for information on when the draft MIP, with the project list, will be posted in both the Texas Register and this website for public comment. Following the 45-day comment period, the finalized MIP will be submitted to the U.S. Treasury for acceptance.
We appreciate the overwhelming interest in the RESTORE Act program and look forward to presenting an MIP to the public that maximizes the benefit of these funds to the environment and economy of the Texas coast.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2016
Contact: Deborah January-Bevers
(713) 524-7330 x 205
Past week, over $50 million in environmental grant applications in Greater Houston Region were submitted to TCEQ to fund projects that will reduce flooding and improve habitat, quality of life and economic development
HOUSTON, TX, April 20, 2016 – This past week over $50 million in grant proposals benefiting the eight-county Greater Houston Region were submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to be considered for funding under the RESTORE Act, part of the gulf oil spill recovery plan. The total amount available for funding under TCEQ’s current request for RESTORE applications is $56 million (www.restorethetexascoast.org).
As part of a two-year effort to create the first-ever 8-county Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan (Gulf-Houston RCP), over 50 partners collaborated together to submit the 14 respective projects, ranging in amounts from $750,000 to over $12 million. These projects allow for hundreds of acres in restored prairies, riparian corridors along 14 creeks and bayous, coastal wetlands, reforestation and nature-based pedestrian trails (see attached Joint Letter of Support from the Gulf-Houston RCP Steering Committee and map of the project locations).
The past week provided plenty of evidence of why these projects are critical to the Greater Houston Region. Upstream prairies and coastal wetlands significantly help prevent flooding of homes and provide hurricane storm surge protection. One acre of prairie land can absorb 9 inches of rainfall per hour before runoff occurs, and will intercept as much as 53 tons of water during a 1-inch per hour rain event. Large-scale tree planting also absorbs tons of water and significantly cleans the air and water in our region.
The Gulf-Houston RCP (www.gulfhoustonrcp.org) collectively identifies our region’s most pressing environmental needs with projects organized into five (5) key initiatives.
- Bayou Greenways Initiative
- Headwaters to Baywaters Initiative
- Prairie Conservation Initiative
- Galveston Bay Habitat Acquisition & Easements Initiative
- Galveston Bay Oyster Reefs & Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative
In addition to the flood control, and water/air quality benefits, the funding and implementation of projects in the Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan will sustain and improve the ecological infrastructure of the Gulf-Houston region and provide the backbone for sustainable growth and economic development as Greater Houston becomes the 3rd largest City in America and the Texas Gulf Coast continues to provide major ports for the United States.
Applications for Texas projects for grant funding under the Direct Component (Bucket 1) of the federal RESTORE Act are now being accepted through the Restore The Texas Coast website until 5:00 pm on Friday, April 15, 2016.
An instructional video with step by step instructions on completing the entire application package (basic application, addendum with environmental checklist and budget) will be posted on the Restore The Texas Coast website on Tuesday, January 19, 2016.
Detailed information on the request for projects can be found in the Request for Grant Application (https://www.restorethetexascoast.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/RFGA-Bucket-1-01-17-15.pdf). The RFGA provides information on the application process, as well as eligibility requirements. See more at https://www.restorethetexascoast.org/.
The total amount available for funding under this request for applications is approximately $56 million. Direct Component grants must support projects that: restore and protect natural habitats; mitigate damage to fish and wildlife; improve state parks in coastal areas; protect against coastal floods; promote tourism and/or consumption of Gulf Coast seafood; or develop the workforce and create jobs in the coastal region.
The review and selection process is competitive and includes elements from other state and federal grant programs. The scoring criteria is based on the Priorities Document.
An initial list of selected projects will be posted for a 45-day public comment period and the final list of selected projects will be included in the Multi-year Implementation Plan required by U.S. Treasury to secure grant funds.
In addition, application workshops will be held in Houston, Corpus Christi and Brownsville.
Over the next three months, Houston Wilderness will provide pertinent follow-up information via email, collaborative meetings and at http://houstonwilderness.org/gulf-restoration-funds/ on RESTORE grant funding and its relationship to the Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan (seewww.gulfhoustonrcp.org). Please also see www.gulfhoustonrcp.org for information on the 5 key initiatives and respective environmental/conservation projects in the 8-county Gulf-Houston Region.