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Restoring the Gulf

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The Gulf of Mexico is a national treasure. The Gulf eco­system hosts a diverse array of habitats from coral reefs and hyper-saline lagoons to emergent wetlands and vast sea grass meadows. The land area of the Gulf’s five states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas — encompasses more than 290 million acres. Consequently, the management of private agricultural lands tremendously influences the health of the region’s industry, tourism and natural resources, especially when it comes to the quality and quantity of water needed to keep the Gulf of Mexico alive.

The health of the Gulf of Mexico region has deteriorated significantly — from the loss of critical wetland habitats and imperiled fisheries to water quality degradation and significant coastal land loss. Amplifying this, the Gulf Coast region has endured significant natural and man-made catastrophes in the last decade, including major hurricanes and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Governments and entities at the local, state and federal levels, including NRCS, are working to improve the Gulf ecosystem. NRCS works with farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to improve the health of this critical ecosystem through an incentive-based, voluntary approach. Following the oil spill, USDA serves on the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Council and the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, working collaboratively with other governments and entities on strategies to aid restoration of this ecosystem. 

Download the strategy document here.

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UPDATE: USDA Submits Five Project Proposals to RESTORE Council

USDA submitted a number of proposals to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, or RESTORE Council, for consideration for the first round of funding. About $150 million to $240 million will be available in this round of funding, and each of the 10 council members, including USDA, was asked to submit projects for the draft Funded Priorities List.

USDA projects include:

See the full list of proposals on the draft Funded Priorities List.

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RELEASE: USDA Announces New Partnership with NFWF to Support Ongoing Gulf Restoration
This partnership will provide additional support for restoration of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in response to impacts that occurred as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. Read more.

  Read more Gulf restoration news

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SF Tech Assist Technical Assistance: NRCS conservationists provide technical expertise and conservation planning for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners wanting to make conservation improvements to their land.
SF Fin Assist

Financial Assistance: Farmers, ranchers and forest landowners can receive financial assistance from NRCS to make improvements to their land.

SF 5 Steps

Get Started: This step-by-step guide helps farmers and ranchers know what to expect when seeking assistance from NRCS.