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Jefferson County
NFWF Announces $26.5 Million Award to Restore 17 Miles of Shoreline at McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge
News Release
Monday, April 23, 2018

Award will help construct critical beach and dune landscape to protect Texas’s largest expanse of coastal wetlands, as well as coastal communities and infrastructure in Jefferson County

Beaumont, Texas – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced a $26.5 million award to the Texas General Land Office to restore approximately 17 miles of the beach dune ridge system along McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), from High Island, Texas to Sea Rim State Park.

The award will leverage more than $25 million from Natural Resource Damages Assessment and RESTORE Act funds for a total conservation investment of more than $50 million. This project could not have come together without strong support from partner organizations in Texas, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as well as Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick.

Construction is expected to commence later this year. When combined with an earlier pilot phase, completion of this restoration project will bring the total restored coastline to 20 miles, including the addition of approximately 150 feet of sand beach seaward of the dunes. In conjunction with an interior clay berm installed by partners in 2016, the overall restoration effort has a design life of at least 50 years, protecting the Salt Bayou Watershed, an ecosystem that contains the largest contiguous estuarine marsh complex in Texas.

“We’re deeply grateful for these Deepwater Horizon investments for the McFaddin beach and dune ridge that will help restore the sand on Jefferson County's Gulf Coast to 100 year-ago levels.  Once complete, the project will conserve over 159,000 acres of public lands and additional many thousands of acres of private ranch land over the long term,” said Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick.   “The storm surge reduction of the restored marsh will safeguard homes and industry and significant national defense and homeland security assets.”

The grant was awarded through the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, which NFWF created in accordance with the terms of criminal settlement agreements between DOJ and BP and Transocean. The agreements directed a total of $2.544 billion to NFWF to fund projects benefiting the natural resources of the Gulf Coast that were impacted by the spill.

Of these funds, more than $200 million are allocated for natural resource projects in Texas. “This important investment will bolster a fragile stretch of shoreline that is critical to the coastal ecosystem and communities of southeast Texas,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The restored shoreline will also serve as a first line of defense against future storms.”

Funding from NFWF will be combined with awards anticipated by the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and the RESTORE Act. The NRDA Texas Trustee Implementation Group included funds for this project in its Final 2017 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment:

Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal and Nearshore Habitats, and Oysters was published on October 18, 2017. The Texas Council on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) included funds for this project in Restore Act Direct Component Texas Multiyear Implementation Plan which was accepted by the U.S. Department of Treasury in December 2017.

Last week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott addressed the importance of five years of effort in coastal Texas by the Gulf Environmental Benefits Fund (GEBF), “Here in Texas, we’ve used GEBF dollars to leverage additional private and nonprofit funds to restore and preserve thousands of acres of coastal habitats and wetlands, while at the same time working with communities and private landowners to voluntarily participate in conservation efforts. Not only have we been able to restore oyster, fish and bird habitats for both commercial and recreational enjoyment, we’ve bolstered resiliency efforts by enhancing the marshes, bays, dunes and barrier islands along the Gulf Coast to help protect our communities from the next storm.”

Speaking to the overall significance of this grant award announcement, Ducks Unlimited Director for the Southern Region Jerry Holden said, “This is extremely good news for an often overlooked but vital coastal Gulf of Mexico region in Louisiana and Texas, the Chenier Plain. In addition to its importance for people, this area is vital for continental waterfowl populations.”

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores our nation’s wildlife and habitats. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF directs public conservation dollars to the most pressing environmental needs and matches those investments with private contributions. NFWF works with government, nonprofit and corporate partners to find solutions for the most intractable conservation challenges. Over the last three decades, NFWF has funded more than 4,500 organizations and committed more than $4.8 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org




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