The RESTORE Act directs that 30 percent of the funds deposited into the Trust Fund (plus 50 percent of the interest) be administered by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council or Council) in order to carry out a science-based plan to restore and protect the natural resources of the Gulf Coast Region, without regard to geographic location. The Council is comprised of governors from the five Gulf Coast States, the Secretaries from the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Commerce, Agriculture, and Homeland Security as well as the Secretary of the Army and the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Under the Council-Selected Restoration Component, the Council is responsible for selecting ecosystem restoration projects and programs for funding from among those proposals submitted by Council members.
On December 9, 2015, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council) approved the following five planning projects submitted by CPRA for funding on its Initial Funded Priorities List (FPL) under the Council-Selected Restoration Component of the RESTORE Act.
The RESTORE Council also approved funding for two additional projects in Louisiana sponsored by Federal Council members, which are complementary to and consistent with the master plan and will directly benefit coastal Louisiana.
In February 2020, the RESTORE Council voted to approve the State’s River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp project for construction funding under FPL 3a in the amount of $130 million. Once constructed, this project will benefit approximately 45,000 acres of coastal forest by reconnecting the Mississippi River and the Maurepas Swamp, thereby improving the swamp ecosystem health and function.
In April 2020, the Louisiana Trustee Implementation Group (TIG) approved the Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment #6: Restore and Conserve Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats, which included construction funding for the remaining three Louisiana Coastal Master Plan projects submitted by CPRA on the RESTORE Council’s Initial FPL: (1) West Grand Terre Beach Nourishment and Stabilization (~$92.5 million), (2) Golden Triangle Marsh Creation (~$50 million), and (3) Biloxi Marsh Living Shoreline (~$66.6 million).
The State will submit additional project and program proposals for consideration for funding under the Council-Selected Restoration Component as the RESTORE Council opens future rounds of solicitations.