Here at Ocean Conservancy, we blog about many issues—some are calls to action, some are educational, but this one is a call to celebrate! Today, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced more than $99.2 million for 25 restoration projects across the Gulf of Mexico.
The best part of this news is that Mississippi, Alabama and Florida have chosen to invest in projects that will restore the Gulf beyond the shore. These projects will provide much-needed funding to:
- Respond to stranded dolphins and manatees
- Map the seafloor off the coast of Florida to inform sustainable fishing practices
- Track the recovery of key fish species like red snapper
As detailed in Ocean Conservancy’s booklet Restoring the Gulf Beyond the Shore, we are a major champion for projects that restore the offshore species in the Gulf, as well as the underwater habitats that they call home.
We believe it is important to invest in the recovery of these animals that spend much of their lives offshore because the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster began in the deep water of the Gulf. The coastal and marine environments are two halves of a single whole, and restoration of one will be incomplete without the other.
We extend a hearty handshake to the folks at NFWF and to our state leaders for recognizing this intrinsic connection. We also commend NFWF and the states for taking a regional, ecosystem approach by funding restoration projects across multiple states and funding streams, so that these projects build on each other to create a comprehensive, integrated restoration effort. It’s so important to leverage the fines from BP and other responsible partners so that restoration of the Gulf is larger than the sum of its parts.