Governor Ivey announces $47 million for National Fish and Wildlife Foundation projects in Alabama

MONTGOMERY- Governor Kay Ivey announced Thursday that the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) recently approved five new projects in Alabama totaling more than $47 million. The announced projects were selected for funding after extensive consultation with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and federal resource agencies.

The projects are:

Restoration of the eastern end of Dauphin Island — Phase II

$26,066,000

Gulf Uplands Conservation Acquisition—Amendment

$8,200,000

Lower Fish River Watershed Restoration — Phase II

$9,003,000

Wolf and Sandy Creek Headwaters Restoration – Phase II

$2,788,000

Alabama Coastal Adaptive Management

$1,000,000

$47,057,000

These projects are the last financing obligations of the Gulf Environmental Fund (GEBF) for projects in the state of Alabama, bringing its total grants from the fund to more than $356 million. This announcement concludes 10 years of restoration funding undertaken by NFWF to support projects in Alabama following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy.

“As we celebrate Alabama’s 2022 NFWF slate of projects and announce the final allocation from Alabama’s share of the Gulf Environmental Benefits Fund, we recognize another milestone in Alabama’s recovery. after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster”, said Governor Ivey. “The $356 million awarded to Alabama in criminal fines, administered by the NFWF, funded some of the first Deepwater Horizon restoration projects implemented on the Alabama coast.

“Together, these investments tell a story of significant accomplishments that will go a long way towards protecting Alabama’s diverse coastal ecosystem for decades to come. Whether it’s our investments in maintaining coastal reefs that support our thriving red snapper fishery, or our land conservation efforts to protect game and non-game species in places like the Perdido River Corridor , the Fort Morgan Peninsula and the Grand Bay Savannah, there is no doubt that Alabama has made the most of these funds.

“I thank the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for its partnership and dedication to restoring and protecting Alabama’s natural resources, and for its skilled and dedicated stewardship of the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund,” added Governor Ivey.

“While this marks the completion of our allocation of the NFWF portion of the BP Settlement, our work continues to restore the Alabama coastline. I want to thank Conservation Commissioner Chris Blankenship, DWH Restoration Coordinator Amy Hunter, and the team at the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the work they continue to do for citizens and the natural resources of coastal Alabama.

Over the past decade, NFWF investments have contributed significantly to the long-term sustainability of Alabama’s critical coastal resources, including:

  • Nearly 9,000 acres of important habitat acquired, conserved, restored or enhanced
  • Nearly 11 miles of vulnerable shoreline protected
  • Improved water quality with three miles of stream restoration that will prevent 50-70 million pounds of sediment per year
  • Over 250 acres of artificial reef habitat and thousands of artificial reefs installed to improve fish productivity
  • Sustainable fisheries management through sound science and monitoring
  • Improved capacity and habitat to boost populations of coastal birds, marine mammals and sea turtles
  • Restoration of over 800 acres of oyster reef habitat

An interactive story map of Alabama’s GEBF-supported projects is available here.

Since its inception, the GEBF has supported 47 natural resource projects in Alabama and worked with 39 implementing partners. These projects leverage or complement nearly $200 million in other funding for a total conservation impact of over $555 million for natural resources negatively affected by the 2010 oil spill.

“Today’s announcement represents the culmination of historic investments in conservation in Alabama following the Deepwater Horizon tragedy,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF. “Working closely with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, we have made strategic investments that support fish and wildlife and their habitats. These projects will continue to improve the productivity and resilience of coastal Alabama for decades to come.

Among the many accomplishments that have been made or are underway, NFWF and its partners have made strategic investments to protect and enhance strategic habitats, improve shoreline resilience, restore watersheds, and improve fisheries habitats and science. . Collectively, these investments will have a lasting impact on the Alabama coast for decades to come. Broadly, these investments have included:

Strategic habitat protection

GEBF has invested more than $100 million in 12 projects in Alabama to acquire and permanently protect approximately 7,500 acres of important coastal habitat. Through their inclusion in existing public conservation lands, these lands will provide expanded public access to this impressive suite of properties along the Alabama coast. These properties are now managed to remove invasive species, restore native flora and improve ecological function.

Conserve Alabama’s Barrier Island

Dauphin Island is Alabama’s only barrier island and one of the largest on the Gulf Coast, spanning 14 miles. It provides valuable wildlife habitat and protects important Mississippi Strait resources while maintaining the ecological conditions (salinity) in the Strait that are essential for its fisheries, oysters and seagrass beds. The island is also an important stopover area for trans-Gulf migratory birds and provides habitat for many beach-nesting birds. Often prone to significant severe weather events, the long-term restoration and resilience of Dauphin Island has been the focus of key targeted investments under the GEBF. Guided by a GEBF-funded restoration plan, the NFWF has awarded nearly $50 million in GEBF funds to nine projects aimed at improving and protecting this vital island.

Improving coastal resilience through shoreline restoration

Annual loss of riparian habitat on the western shore of Mobile Bay has averaged over two feet in some areas. Since 2001, more than 11% of the total shoreline area has been lost due to erosion caused by storms, shipping traffic and natural degradation. Investments in coastal protection and wetland restoration are key to restoring and improving the ecological function of these critical habitats, and they also represent a nature-based approach to protecting coastal communities and infrastructure. Nearly $120 million of GEBF funds to support shoreline restoration also leveraged more than $20 million of NFWF Coastal Resilience Funding to strengthen Alabama’s natural defenses and improve coastal water ecology. .

Watershed restoration

The degradation of watersheds and coastal waterways has coincided with significant growth in the region in recent decades. GEBF investments in watershed planning by the National Mobile Bay Estuary Program have been instrumental in identifying and prioritizing the most cost-effective restoration activities to improve water quality along on the side. Projects that improve water quality by reducing sediment and nutrient loads have significant benefits for wetland habitats, submerged aquatic vegetation, oyster reefs and other marine species.

GEBF funding also strengthened a long-standing partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to work with farmers and ranchers on the Alabama coast to implement easements of conservation and best management practices worth more than $14.5 million on more than 30,000 acres to improve water quality and improve habitat.

Strengthening Alabama’s Fisheries

The GEBF has invested more than $44 million in Alabama to boost fish populations through habitat creation and improved monitoring and management. Monitoring fish populations in Alabama has produced a wealth of data that informs the management of vital fisheries of commercial and economic importance. This investment has also increased scientific capacity that will endure. GEBF investments have also created more than 1,000 acres of reef habitat in Alabama, including 800 acres of nearshore oyster reef and 250 acres of nearshore and offshore artificial reef habitat suitable for red snapper and dartfish. other offshore reef species.

For more information on coastal restoration projects in Alabama from all Deepwater Horizon funding sources, please visit https://www.alabamacoastalrestoration.org.

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