roseate spoonbill

​Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund in Florida

“Florida’s treasured Gulf Coast spans nearly 800 miles and is home to many of our state’s historic communities, world-class natural treasures and unique wildlife. Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund awards have supported our efforts to preserve our beautiful coastal areas, improve water quality and continue to welcome families and visitors from across the world to the great State of Florida.” 

​— Florida Governor Rick Scott

Current Projects

To date, NFWF has awarded more than $160 million from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) for 33 restoration projects in the state of Florida. These projects were selected for funding following extensive consultation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The projects in Florida address high-priority restoration and conservation needs identified through the state's recently completed GEBF Restoration Strategy. They represent important efforts to protect and enhance natural and living resources, as well as significant assessment efforts to guide management decisions that will benefit important habitats and species. 

To learn more about the projects the GEBF has funded in Florida, view the comprehensive list of projects ​here​

Project Highlights

​​​​​Sea turtle swimming​

Eli​minating Light Pollution at Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches

​Light pollution near nesting beaches causes disorientation for sea turtle hatchlings and is a leading cause of mortality. Nearly $10 million has been awarded by the GEBF to the Sea Turtle Conservancy and Florida state partners to address pro​​blematic lighting through retrofits and upgrades, reducing disorientation rates on some nesting beaches from 50 percent to near zero.​

Piping plover with chicks​

Beach Nesting Bird Stewardship

​More than $16 million in GEBF funds has been awarded to conservation partners working with volunteers across Florida’s Gulf Coast to improve nesting success of coastal birds through nest protection, stewardship, monitoring and outreach activities. Across eight state parks in the Florida Panhandle, partners have documented increases in the breeding populations of snowy plovers and least terns in recent years, by 30 percent and 48 percent respectively.

​​​Red snapper​

Improving Fisheries Management

​The GEBF has invested $25 million to improve monitoring techniques and increase the accuracy of stock assessments of red snapper and other reef fish in Florida. Based on preliminary findings through its first three years of effort, FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute reports that enhanced monitoring techniques have led to the detection of fish age classes not previously counted in traditional surveys. The Institute is working with NOAA and others to integrate this new information within stock assessments that managers use to establish appropriate fishing seasons for sustainable recreational and comm​ercial fisheries.​​

Future Projects

NFWF is engaged in consultation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, FWS and NOAA to identify priority restoration and conservation projects for consideration under the GEBF. Review of the 2019 cycle proposals is expected to begin in the spring of 2019.  

About the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund in Florida

Under the allocation formula and other provisions contained in the plea agreements, the GEBF has received $356 million for project expenditures in the state of Florida.  

To learn more about Florida’s process for identifying priority Gulf Coast restoration projects, visit: