Audubon was well represented at the May 17 Florida’s Gulf Counties Consortium meeting in Key Largo, where the Consortium heard updates on the agreement with the Governor’s Office and the Gulf Council restoration plan. Gov. Scott is expected to sign the agreement which will define the role of the Governor’s Office and state agencies in working with the Consortium to develop Florida’s Oil Spill Restoration Impact Allocation Plan. Also known as the State Expenditure Plan, the plan will determine how “Pot 3” RESTORE funds are spent. The State’s plan must be approved by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.
Pete Frezza, a research manager at Audubon’s Everglades Science Center in Tavernier, gave an insightful presentation on some of the problems facing Florida Bay, an important habitat for Florida’s wildlife and the larger Gulf ecosystem. Click here to see a copy of Pete’s presentation.
The Consortium also established a committee of the 15 counties from Jefferson to Monroe County to provide input on U.S. Treasury options on how to distribute Pot 1 RESTORE funds among the 15 counties. A similar committee for the eight counties from Escambia to Wakulla was set up earlier.
Consortium members were briefed on the Florida Keys marine environment and how much influence Keys fish populations and other Keys resources have on other areas in the Gulf of Mexico.
Supervisor Connie Rockco, Harrison County, Missisippi Board of Supervisors, made a presentation and commented on how much coastal Mississippi has in common with coastal Florida. She advocated for the formation of a Gulf state coastal consortium to exercise more influence with Congress on Gulf coastal issues.
All presentations made at the meeting are posted on the Florida Gulf Consortium web site.
Many of Florida’s Gulf coastal counties have formed advisory committees to help shape local priorities for Gulf restoration funds. Your participation in these committee meetings is important to guide local restoration funds to critical Gulf environmental resources and wildlife. If you have information on your local committee meetings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that it can be included on Audubon’s RESTORE Calendar.