What is the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund?

The Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF) was established by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) in accordance with the terms of two plea agreements that resolved certain criminal cases against BP and Transocean as a result of 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. NFWF will administer and monitor $2.544 billion in payments received over a five-year period as required under the plea agreements.

What is the purpose of the GEBF?

The purpose of the Gulf Fund established in the plea agreements is to “remedy harm and eliminate or reduce the risk of future harm to Gulf Coast natural resources” that were adversely affected by the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill. Learn more about the GEBF Funding Priorities.

How will the NFWF GEBF funds be used?

The money will fund projects benefitting the natural resources of the Gulf Coast of a type that were impacted by the spill. The plea agreements mandate that funds may be used only to support projects that remedy harm to natural resources — habitats and species — where there has been injury to, destruction of, or loss of the use of those resources resulting from the oil spill.

What is NFWF’s funding cycle?

NFWF funds are available on an annual basis, however there are several steps prior to grant awards. MDEQ must submit pre-proposals to NFWF by April and full proposals by late June. Then, projects are accepted and announced the second week of November.

What are the criteria for project selection?

The plea agreements require that GEBF funds may only be used to support projects that remedy harm to natural resources (habitats and species) of a type that were impacted by the oil spill. Further criteria will emphasize projects that: advance priorities in natural resource management plans, such as those called for under the RESTORE Act; are within reasonable proximity to where impacts from the oil spill occurred, as appropriate; are cost-effective and maximize environmental benefits; are science-based; and produce measurable and meaningful conservation outcomes to habitats and species of a type impacted by the oil spill.

How will projects be selected for funding?

The plea agreements require NFWF to consult with state natural resource agencies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in identifying projects to be supported by the GEBF. NFWF will work to develop consensus among the state and federal agencies in identifying projects that meet the conditions of the plea agreements. NFWF retains sole authority to make final project decisions.

What is the total amount of NFWF-funding that Mississippi will receive?

Under the terms of the plea agreements, the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund will receive a total of $1.272 billion for barrier island and river diversion projects in the state of Louisiana; $356 million for natural resource projects in each of the states of Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi; and $203 million for similar projects in the state of Texas.

How can I propose a project to be funded with NFWF-funds?

In order to be considered for funding, all projects must be submitted into the Restoration Project Idea Portal. Review, edit, or submit project ideas in the Project Portal.

How will science be used to guide project selection?

As it does in its other conservation grant making, NFWF’s decision-making will rely on strong, science-based evidence and the technical input from state and federal resource agencies. Significant new research is being undertaken to improve the understanding of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and efforts to restore critical natural resources, enhance its resiliency and improve management. As this information becomes available, it will be used to further inform decision-making.

Is the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation a federal agency?

No. Although NFWF was chartered by Congress, it is a private, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization.