Texas To Receive Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Restoration Funding

Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov

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Artificial Reef, Coastal State Park Projects In Latest Round of Early Restoration

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AUSTIN – Five Texas-based projects totaling about $18 million have been approved to begin to compensate Texas for lost human use of natural resources resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The three artificial reef and two state park projects are part of the latest round of early restoration led by state and federal Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees.

The five Texas projects are part of a broader suite of 44 projects totaling an estimated $627 million across the Gulf, the largest suite of early restoration projects since the oil spill. About 63 percent, or $397 million, of the projects address ecological losses. The remaining 37 percent, or $230 million, address lost recreational services.

This is the first early restoration phase with Texas-based projects, following two previous phases totaling $71 million. Work on Texas projects is expected to begin in 2015.

The five Texas-based projects are listed below, all of which address lost recreational services.

  • Galveston Island State Park Beach Redevelopment (Galveston County). The project will construct multi-use campsites, tent campsites, equestrian facilities, beach access via dune walk-over boardwalks and other recreational enhancements on the Gulf side of Galveston Island State Park. The purpose is to enhance recreational opportunities and to increase access to the Gulf. Early restoration funding for this project: $10.7 million.
  • Sea Rim State Park Improvements (Jefferson County). The project will construct facilities to provide enhanced recreational experiences within Sea Rim State Park, including a fish cleaning station, vault toilet, and two wildlife viewing platforms. These improvements will provide amenities to enhance fishing experiences, wildlife and habitat observation, and overall recreational opportunities. Early restoration funding for this project: $210,000.
  • Ship Reef/Corpus Reef (federal waters /Nueces County). The Ship Reef project will enhance fishing and diving opportunities by sinking a suitable ship at least 200 feet long to create an artificial reef approximately 67 miles offshore of Galveston. If the Ship Reef Project becomes infeasible (for example, if an appropriate ship cannot be acquired) , an alternative reef project off Corpus Christi will be implemented instead. The Corpus Reef would increase the amount of concrete pyramids (artificial reef materials) at an existing artificial reef site approximately 11 miles from Packery Channel (, near Corpus Christi Bay. Early restoration funding for either alternative: $1.9 million.
  • Freeport Artificial Reef (Brazoria County). This project will increase the amount of reef materials in a currently permitted artificial reef site, the George Vancouver (Liberty Ship) Artificial Reef, approximately 6 miles from Freeport, placing concrete pyramids (artificial reef materials) at a water depth of 55 feet. Early restoration funding for this project: $2.2 million.
  • Matagorda Artificial Reef (Matagorda County). This project will create a new artificial reef site approximately 10 miles offshore of Matagorda County, Texas, through deployment of concrete pyramids (artificial reef materials) at a water depth of 60 feet. Early restoration funding for this project: $3.6 million.

In 2011, BP agreed to provide up to $1 billion to fund early restoration projects in the Gulf of Mexico to begin addressing injuries to natural resources caused by the spill. The purpose is to speed the start of restoration before the injury assessment process is completed.

The latest early restoration phase is part of a Final Programmatic and Phase III Early Restoration Plan and Early Restoration Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, which sets a strategic approach for early restoration. The Trustees received thousands of public comments that were instrumental in its development. The Trustees have developed a reader-friendly guide to the plan and projects.

The Trustees’ decisions on the plan are set forth and explained in a Record of Decision (ROD). Both the plan and the ROD are available at www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov and copies will be available in locations across the Gulf region.

Texas trustees include Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the General Land Office and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Other trustees include federal agencies and state agencies from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.