Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council releases Draft Initial Comprehensive Plan: Restoring the Gulf Coast’s Ecosystem and Economy

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council marked significant progress with the public release of the Draft Initial Comprehensive Plan: Restoring the Gulf Coast’s Ecosystem and Economy and accompanying Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment for formal public comment. The Draft Plan provides a framework 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.

The Draft Plan 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 expects to release a Final Plan this summer.

Along with the release of the Draft Plan, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank and Council Chair announced that Justin Ehrenwerth will serve as the Executive Director of the Council. These steps signify the Council’s efforts to ensure that it is ready to move efficiently and effectively to implement a restoration plan once funds are received.

In order to ensure robust public input throughout the entire process, the Council is hosting a series of public engagement sessions in each of the five impacted Gulf States in June to give the public the opportunity to provide input on the Draft Plan and the Council’s restoration planning efforts. The 30-day formal public comment period for the Draft Plan and associated documents begins 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
5:30 – 9:00 pm CST
Escambia County Board of County Commission Chambers
Ernie Lee Magaha Government Building
221 Palafox Place
Pensacola, FL 32502

June 5, 2013
6:00pm CST
The Tensaw Theater at 5 Rivers
Alabama’s Delta Resource Center
30945 Five Rivers Boulevard
Spanish Fort, Alabama

June 10, 2013
6:00-8:00 pm CST
Texas A&M University, Galveston
200 Seawolf Parkway, Bldg 3007
Galveston, TX 77554

June 11, 2013
6:00 pm CST (registration begins at 5:00 pm CST)
Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center
2350 Beach Blvd
Biloxi, MS 39531

June 12, 2013
6:30 pm CST (doors open at 6:00 pm CST)
Belle Chasse Auditorium
8398 Louisiana Hwy 23
Belle Chasse, LA 70037

June 17, 2013
5:30 – 9:00 pm EST
Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commissions’ Fish & Wildlife Research Institute
100 Eighth Ave. SE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

For more information about the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, please visit https://www.restorethegulf.gov/

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