A juvenile brown pelican in Louisiana. | Credit: iStock, Andrea Izzotti

​Timeline: NFWF and the Gulf

Prior to April 20, 2010

Prior to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) had more than two decades of experience preserving and protecting fish, wildlife and their habitats of the Gulf of Mexico. NFWF supported more than 450 projects with a total value of more than $128 million. Our work involved collaboration with federal and state agencies, conservation organizations, corporations and foundations to protect and restore species and habitats throughout the Gulf Coast.

2010-2012

Following the oil spill, NFWF invested nearly $23 million between 2010 and 2012 to benefit Gulf Coast natural resources (see project list). Working with a wide network of agencies and conservation groups, NFWF implemented a restoration strategy to boost populations of sea turtles, shorebirds, seabirds, oysters and fish. These post-spill investments, made possible through the Recovered Oil Fund for Wildlife, continue to yield results for wildlife and coastal ecosystems.

As of 2012, NFWF’s actions following the oil spill resulted in approximately 80,000-100,000 additional sea turtle hatchlings annually. NFWF and its partners also restored over more than 500,000 acres of wetland habitat for migratory waterfowl, shorebirds and songbirds, rebuilt more than three miles of oyster reefs and enhanced capacity at 14 wildlife rescue facilities.

NFWF also worked with FedEx and its agency partners during the summer of 2010 to transfer 25,000 endangered sea turtle eggs from the Gulf coast to the Atlantic coast — one of the largest wildlife relocations in history. (A short video about this effort can be viewed here.)

2013

In 2013, a U.S. District Court approved two plea agreements resolving certain criminal cases against BP and Transocean which arose from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The agreements direct a total of $2.544 billion over five years to NFWF to fund projects benefiting the natural resources of the Gulf Coast that were impacted by the spill.

NFWF established the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) in May 2013 and made initial GEBF project obligations from the Fund just six months later. Of the first $158 million received, NFWF approved $100 million for 22 initial projects following extensive consultation with state and federal resource agencies. (Read press release here.)

2014

The GEBF received the second payments from BP and Transocean, increasing the total amount received to $511 million. The GEBF completed its first full formal project selection cycle in November 2014. Upon completion of the cycle, the GEBF had approved a total of nearly $390 million for 50 projects that will restore and conserve the Gulf Coast (see project list).

Project investments include $144.5 million to restore more than 7 miles of Caminada Headlands in coastal Louisiana (see press release) and the protection of  the 17,300-acre Powderhorn Ranch in Texas (see story). Other investments in Mississippi and Alabama are supporting critical planning to inform the highest conservation priorities along each state’s coast.

Additionally, NFWF entered into agreements with the National Resource Conservation Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and others that leverage GEBF funds and expand the program’s overall impact on the Gulf.

2015

The GEBF received the third payments from BP and Transocean, increasing the total amount received to $850 million. With these funds in hand, NFWF has worked with our state and federal agency partners to identify an additional round of project proposals.  The 22 new projects obligating an additional $80.5 million were recently announced (see press release). 
 
Project highlights include continuation of important fisheries monitoring and habitat enhancement in Florida and Alabama, oyster restoration in coastal Mississippi, Florida and Texas, protection and restoration of coastal marsh and other wetland habitat in Alabama, Mississippi and Texas and continuation of lighting pollution to enhance sea turtle nesting success across the Florida Panhandle (see story).

2016

The GEBF received the forth payment from BP, increasing the total amount received to $1.15 billion. With these funds in hand, NFWF has worked with our state and federal agency partners to identify an additional round of project proposals.  The 24 new projects obligating an additional $370 million were recently announced (see press release). 

Two additional projects to the GEBF portfolio were approved by the NFWF Board of Directors in the spring of 2016. The goals for these projects include the protection of key coastal habitat in Mississippi and the establishment of a coastal bird stewardship program in Alabama (see press release).

Brief Summary of Expected Outcomes from GEBF-Funded Projects

Projects approved to date:

  • 102 projects selected for funding in the five Gulf states
  • Total announced awards of over $880 million dollars
  • Project contracting and implementation underway

In aggregate, these projects will:

  • Protect, restore and enhance more than 87,000 acres of wetlands and other coastal habitats
  • Restore 7.5 miles (490 acres) of critical barrier island & beach/dune habitat in Louisiana
  • Protect over 12 miles of critical shoreline in coastal Texas and Alabama
  • Protect 7,400 nests annually for priority beach-nesting birds in Florida and Mississippi
  • Increase sea turtle hatchlings by reducing light pollution across Florida Panhandle beaches
  • Advance priority river diversion projects to benefit coastal Louisiana
  • Bolster fish populations through improved management and data collection
  • Restore more than 880 acres of oyster reef
  • Increase capacity to treat injured marine mammals and sea turtles