Following the 2010 Gulf oil spill, new and unprecedented funding exists to help repair and sustain fish and waterfowl habitat all along the Gulf Coast. Each state is designing and implementing restoration plans with specific projects.
Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan
Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan is the state’s blueprint for coastal restoration and protection, containing a mix of risk reduction and coastal restoration projects spread across the entire coastal zone. The 2012 master plan has an estimated cost of $50 billion over 50 years -- an ambitious price tag that matches the gravity of the state’s coastal crisis.
To rebuild and fortify our coast in the face of increased sea level rise and storms, this funding challenge must be met head on. There are a number of sources available to help pay for coastal restoration in Louisiana, but to fully restore and protect our coast, additional funding will need to be secured and existing funding must be protected.
Following the Gulf oil disaster, in 2012, the federal Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States (RESTORE) Act was signed into law. This law ensures that 80 percent of all Clean Water Act penalties stemming from the spill flow through the RESTORE Act and are used for Gulf Coast restoration.
Funding flows through the RESTORE Act via three “pots”:
Pot1 evenly distributes 35 percent of RESTORE funding directly to the Gulf states.
Pot 2 allocates 30 percent of funding to ecosystem restoration projects selected by the RESTORE Council.
Pot 3 distributes 30 percent of funding to the Gulf states based on an oil spill impact allocation formula.
Louisiana is set to receive $955 million in RESTORE Act funding, with a possible $650 million more on the table. Louisiana has committed to use all of its Pot 1 and 3 funding on the Coastal Master Plan. Via Pot 2, Louisiana has received $52.2 million to fund coastal restoration projects included in the RESTORE Council’s Funded Priorities List, which includes marsh creation, hydrologic restoration and beach nourishment projects.
Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA)
NRDA is the federally-administered damage assessment and restoration process used to determine damages caused by an oil spill and restore natural resources back to baseline conditions. Through the Deepwater Horizon NRDA process, Louisiana will receive $5.5 billion in funds, to be used for ecosystem restoration. Learn more about the Deepwater Horizon NRDA process.
NFWF Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund was established in 2013 following the Gulf oil disaster. The fund contains $2.544 billion, half of which ($1.27 billion) is to be spent in Louisiana on barrier island restoration and sediment diversion projects. Learn more about the NFWF Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund.
Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA)
GOMESA was signed into law in 2006 and shares 37.5 percent of qualified outer continental shelf oil drilling revenue with oil-producing Gulf states. To date, more than $30 million has been distributed to the Gulf states via GOMESA Phase I. Louisiana will receive an estimated $176 million per year in GOMESA funds during Phase II, or approximately $8.5 billion, and the majority of the funding will go to the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA)
Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA)
CWPPRA was enacted in 1990 to provide funding for Louisiana wetlands restoration. Louisiana currently receives more than $80 million per year through CWPPRA, or approximately $4 billion.
Additional Sources of Funding
Other sources of funding for Louisiana coastal restoration include the Energy and Water Act (Corps Funding), Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP), carbon and nutrient credits, future state funding and Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund.