Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force Releases Preliminary Strategy Report

The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (GCERTF) was created by Executive Order 13554 on October 5, 2010 to coordinate intergovernmental implementation of restoration, support the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process, present to the President a Gulf of Mexico Regional Ecosystem Restoration Strategy, engage local stakeholders to inform the work of the Task Force, provide leadership and coordination of research needs in support of restoration planning and decision making, and prepare a biennial update for the President on progress toward the goals of Gulf Coast restoration.

Today the Task Force released its preliminary strategy report and seeking public comments until October 26. We are still reading the 112 page report and will be telling you what we think soon.

You can read the report here.

A little more on the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force as stated in the "State of the Gulf":

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, a Gulf Coast native, was named chair of the GCERTF. Between November of 2010 and August of 2011, the task force has had five meetings scheduled on the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas. These are working meetings open to the public. They were set up for transparency and include sessions to collect stakeholder input from a spectrum of people from fishermen to hotel owners to members of the regulated community.  

The task force has used the listening sessions to enable the community to answer the following main questions about restoration:

•    Are these the right goals: Enhance Community Resilience, Restore and Conserve Habitat, Restore Water Quality, Replenish and Protect Living Coastal and Marine Resources?
•    What are the critical actions or major outcomes that need to be accomplished as part of this strategy in order to achieve the overarching goals?
•    What new programs and actions (state, federal and private) are needed?
•    What key policy changes will improve the processes necessary to support restoration?
•    What would "success" look like, and how should it be measured and reported?
In coordination with partner organizations across the Gulf Coast, members of Save Our Gulf have organized and succeeded in pushing for a matrix that prioritizes how restoration projects are defined and for creation of a Citizen Advisory Council. Save Our Gulf Waterkeepers will continue working to ensure that only the best environmental projects rise through the process for both permitting and funding.

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