NORCO, LA, Oct. 28, 2014 -- A new partnership has been established between the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to provide additional support for restoration of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in response to impacts that occurred as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.
The new partnership will significantly expand conservation efforts with private landowners and operators who might not otherwise be eligible to participate in existing recovery programs. The partnership will begin with a $20-million investment from NFWF, matched by a $20-million investment from NRCS. Additional commitments of up to $30 million from each partner are possible over the next four years.
"The health of the Gulf ecosystem will be decided by how well we treat the private lands that make up most of this region," USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "This new partnership with NFWF leverages significant funding for restoration in these Gulf States. In addition to our many Farm Bill conservation programs, partnering with NFWF and private landowners will enable us to continue to make progress in this region and achieve our goals for a healthy Gulf ecosystem."
NFWF, NRCS and other partners will focus on working on private lands to implement conservation projects that will enhance the existing recovery efforts in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas. Potential projects include:
- Wetlands conservation
- Stream and riparian buffer restoration
- Farm and ranch land protection, including the practices that go along with protection, such as improving soil health, implementing no-till farming and enhancing wildlife habitat