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Final Strategic Plan Released by Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Taskforce

December 5, 2011 - 9:45am


Final Strategic Plan Released by Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Taskforce

Today (December 5) the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force released its final strategy for long-term restoration in the Gulf, a path forward based on input from states, tribes, federal agencies, local governments and thousands of involved citizens and organizations. 

Read the strategy here.

President Obama established the Task Force via Executive Order, committing the country to a full restoration of the Gulf region following the decades-long decline of the Gulf ecosystem. A collaborative approach from the federal government, local stakeholders, and tribal governments is critical to seeing the plan come to fruition, and the final strategy represents a full committment by all involved parties to the work of the Task Force.

The natural resources of the Gulf’s ecosystem are vital to many of the region’s industries that directly support economic progress and job creation, including tourism and recreation, seafood production and sales, energy production and navigation and commerce. Among the key priorities of the strategy are:

1) Stopping the Loss of Critical Wetlands, Sand Barriers and Beaches
The strategy recommends placing ecosystem restoration on an equal footing with historic uses such as navigation and flood damage reduction by approaching water resource management decisions in a far more comprehensive manner that will bypass harm to wetlands, barrier islands and beaches. The strategy also recommends implementation of several congressionally authorized projects in the Gulf that are intended to reverse the trend of wetlands loss.

2) Reducing the Flow of Excess Nutrients into the Gulf
The strategy calls for working in the Gulf and upstream in the Mississippi watershed to reduce the flow of excess nutrients into the Gulf by supporting state nutrient reduction frameworks, new nutrient reduction approaches, and targeted watershed work to reduce agricultural and urban sources of excess nutrients.

3) Enhancing Resiliency among Coastal Communities
The strategy calls for enhancing the quality of life of Gulf residents by working in partnership with the Gulf with coastal communities. The strategy specifically recommends working with each of the States to build the integrated capacity needed through effective coastal improvement plans to better secure the future of their coastal communities and to implement existing efforts underway.

Read the full strategy here.