Building Bridges between Restoration Programs and Existing Federal Programs

“Federal members of the Gulf Restoration Council and Trustee Council, as well as all Federal entities involved in Gulf Coast restoration, shall work closely with one another to advance their common goals, reduce duplication, and maximize consistency among their efforts. All Federal members are directed to consult with each other and with all non-federal members in carrying out their duties on the Gulf Restoration Council.” (President Obama, Executive Order 13,626)

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Multiple restoration processes were initiated, and in some cases developed, to spur recovery of the Gulf of Mexico region after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The goals and objectives of these recovery programs will overlap with the goals and objectives of many existing restoration and conservation policies and programs.

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            Southern LA coast. Credit: ELI.

This overlap makes it imperative to maximize coordination between the different activities and programs. They should not simply exist in parallel. Rather, it is important to identify ways to link them to ensure that the current influx of restoration funds achieves long-term environmental and community protection, both by maximizing the on-the-ground restoration accomplished and by building institutional capacity to sustain progress made.

The Building Bridges-Federal report focuses on linkages between the disaster recovery funding and existing federal conservation and restoration programs. It reviews 43 federal programs in total, identifying dozens of instances in which the existing state and federal programs can be used to leverage Deepwater Horizon funds and link complementary efforts.

A corollary report focused on existing state conservation and restoration programs, and possible linkages with the disaster recovery efforts, is in progress.

Increasing coordination between disaster-specific and existing conservation and restoration efforts is one of the key ways to maximize the value of restoration dollars. By identifying some ways to do so, this report is intended to help build a bridge from the 2010 disaster to a future with a healthy, thriving Gulf.

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