A group of state and federal agencies Thursday released a draft plan that would allocate $45.7 million in Deepwater Horizon recovery money to 13 coastal restoration projects.
The Texas Trustee Implementation Group, which includes three state and four federal agencies, reviewed more than 800 proposed restoration projects for funding. Five of the 13 chosen projects would directly benefit the Galveston Bay area.
“We’re fortunate to be able to tap into this oil spill funding,” Galveston Bay Foundation President Bob Stokes said. “There’s always been this need to do coastal restoration and it’s been really underfunded.”
The five Galveston-area projects would receive almost $6 million in the recovery money, which comes from civil and criminal fines from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The proposed projects include three engineering restoration studies, one restoration project and one habitat acquisition.
• One project, totaling $309,000, would investigate the best way to rehabilitate Galveston Bay’s oyster reefs.
• A $206,000 project would investigate the degradation of habitat at Bird Island Cove in West Galveston Bay.
• A third project, totaling $372,000, would study how to improve salinities of the Essex Bayou habitat west of Christmas Bay. Eventually, environmentalists hope to to improve the area’s tidal flow, close man-made channels, enhance watershed inflows and plant marsh vegetation.
• Another effort would restore and conserve the wetlands at West Galveston Bay’s Pierce Marsh, to the tune of $3.1 million. The project would dredge the marsh and restore up to 150 acres of the area, according to the group.
• The last project, slated at $2 million, would acquire 300 acres of wetland on Follets Island between San Luis Pass and Drum Bay. The effort would attempt to conserve the dunes, coastal strand prairie and marsh habitat.
The group also identified — but did not officially prioritize — a $15 million project to restore 150 acres of oyster reefs in Galveston Bay.
The group similarly waved off $4 million for restoration at Dollar Bay and Moses Lake.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will take comments on the projects through June 19. The group will also hold a public meeting in Galveston County at 6 p.m. June 8. The meeting will take place at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at 4102-B Main St. in La Marque.