Gulf's restoration roadmap about to be debated

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A plan that could become the roadmap to restore the Gulf of Mexico is about to be debated.

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council's draft plan was released Thursday.  And meetings with the public to get their thoughts about the roadmap will be heard on June 11.

The document released Thursday is called "Draft Initial Comprehensive Plan: Restoring the Gulf Coast's Ecosystem and Economy".  It describes the objectives, the selection process, and the evaluation criteria for the ecosystem restoration projects and programs that will be funded by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.

According to a Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality news release, the two funding sources from the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund established by the RESTORE Act addressed in the plan are the 30 percent managed by the Council for ecosystem restoration and the 30 percent that is distributed to the states through an allocation formula to implement state expenditure plans which require Council approval.  The Council was created by the RESTORE Act and is comprised of the five Gulf states and six federal agencies.

MDEQ Director Trudy Fisher said public comment is a critical part of the overall process.  "I encourage Mississippians to review the draft plan and submit comments because the implementation of the plan will have a significant impact on our state and the Gulf region for decades," said Fisher.  "Fortunately we have laid a foundation with the substantial work of the GoCoast 2020 teams that highlighted the priorities to help us recover and move forward.  It's important we don't lose that momentum and continue with the process to improve our Coast."

Mississippi's public engagement session will be June 11 beginning with registration at 5:00 p.m. and the meeting at 6:00 p.m. at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.

To review the plan, click on this link  It takes you to the 20 page proposal.

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