STATES CHRONICLE – Foundation approves $21 million for oil spill restoration projects in Alabama. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has granted over $21 million to five Alabama projects dedicated to restoring the natural resources that were affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill back in 2010, according to a recent announcement made by the governor’s office.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Congress and is responsible for setting up the Gulf Fund which is meant to distribute the money received after the settlement between Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana.
According to a statement made by governor Robert Bentley the $21 million is to be used to support the long-term recovery efforts directed at countering the ill effects that the oil spill has had on the Gulf Coast of Alabama. The governor also stated that the Gulf Coast of Alabama is considered one of the state’s natural treasures and that it suffered devastation during the 2010 BP oil spill.
This is just a small amount of the total $356 million that Alabama is set to receive from the Gulf Fund over a period of five years and is separate from the approximately $2.3 billion the state is expected to receive as part of the settlement with BP due to economic and environmental damages caused by the oil spill five years ago.
Several federal agencies were involved in a collaboration with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in an effort to distribute the money to several projects they developed together in an effort to restore Alabama’s Gulf Coast.
Out of the $21 million, approximately $2.1 million will go to a program meant to monitor fisheries and ecosystems within Alabama’s waters which has already reached its second year of work. The data collected during this project will be used to assess how the population of reef fish has recovered as well as to better the management process of ecosystems in the area.
About $4.2 million will be used to buy and conserve a 233 acre parcel on the Mobile Bay in an effort to conserve the existing brackish marsh habitat found in the area, which contains a high diversity of animal and plant species.
Approximately $1.7 million will be directed to the purchasing a total of 647 acres of priority coastal habitat in Grand Bay, which is considered one of the best preserved and most bio-diverse areas of the Alabama Gulf. This will be done in an effort to link protected areas of the Gulf.
$12 million will go to artificial reef and habitat enhancement, in order to provide habitats for species of reef fish in the area as well as fund research meant to monitor the new habitats. Another $300.000 will initiate an effort to conserve and protect coastal habitat through land acquisition in Mobile Bay.
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