MEDIA ADVISORY: Jan. 10, 2012

CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112, DEPNews@dep.state.fl.us

DEEPWATER HORIZON NATURAL RESOURCE TRUSTEES HOST PUBLIC MEETINGS
~Public meetings in Ft. Walton Beach and Pensacola to solicit public comment on Early Restoration of the Gulf~

TALLAHASSEE – The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustees (Trustees), including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, released the Deepwater Horizon Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (DERP/EA) on Dec. 15, 2011.To facilitate public comment on Early Restoration, the Trustees will hold a series of 12 public meetings across the Gulf States. The first two meetings take place in Florida this week.

The DERP/EA is the first in an anticipated series of plans to begin restoration of the Gulf of Mexico to compensate for natural resource injuries, including the loss of human use of Gulf resources, from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
The DERP/EA describes the initial projects proposed to receive funding from the $1 billion Early Restoration agreement announced by the Trustees and BP on April 21, 2011. The DERP/EA describes eight proposed projects for the initial round of Early Restoration, two each in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
These projects reflect the ideas and input received by the Trustees through project solicitation and outreach efforts. The proposed projects include shoreline marsh creation, coastal dune habitat restoration, nearshore artificial reef creation, oyster cultch restoration and construction of boat ramp facilities. The total estimated cost of the proposed initial suite of projects is more than $57 million.

Public meetings will be held:
Jan. 11, 2012
Emerald Coast Convention Center
1250 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
6 – 9 p.m. CST Open House
7 p.m. CST Informational presentation and verbal public comment period begins.

Jan. 12, 2012
University of West Florida Conference Center
11000 University Parkway
Pensacola, FL 32514
6 – 9 p.m. CST Open House
7 p.m. CST Informational presentation and verbal public comment period begins.

Visit www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov to view the DERP/EA, access public meeting details, and view additional details of the proposed Early Restoration projects and ways to submit public comment. The public comment period will end Feb. 14, 2012.