|Photo: Laurie Wiegler, 2013. David Muth of the National Wildlife Federation, Bay Jimmy, La.|
At just after 3 pm CT today, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council sent out a press release stating that they'd "marked significant progress today with the public release of the Draft Initial Comprehensive Plan: Restoring the Gulf Coast’s Ecosystem and Economy (PDF 621kb) and accompanying Draft Environmental Assessment (PDF 1.1 MB) for formal public comment".
The draft provides a framework, they said, to "implement a coordinated region-wide restoration effort in a way that restores, protects, and revitalizes the Gulf Coast region following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill"
- establishes overarching restoration goals for the Gulf Coast region;
- provides details about how the Council will solicit, evaluate, and fund projects and programs for ecosystem restoration in the Gulf Coast region;
- outlines the process for the development, review, and approval of State Expenditure Plans;
- and highlights the Council’s next steps.
The Council is hosting a series of public engagement sessions in each of the five impacted Gulf states next month. The 30-day formal public comment period for the Draft Plan and associated documents began today, May 23, and ends June 24.
Public meetings to discuss the Draft Plan are scheduled for the following dates and locations:
- June 3, 2013: Pensacola, Fla.
- June 5, 2013: Spanish Fort, Ala.
- June 10, 2013: Galveston, Tex.
- June 11, 2013: Biloxi, Miss.
- June 12, 2013: Belle Chasse, La.
- June 17, 2013: St. Petersburg, Fla.
Comments can be submitted here: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/
The Council was established by the Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability, Tourism, Opportunities Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act), to help restore the ecosystem and economy of the Gulf by developing and overseeing implementation of a comprehensive plan and action.
To read more stories about the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and its aftermath, please click here.