Gulf Restoration Task Force Creates Citizen Committee, Releases Priorities
EPA officials held an ecosystem restoration meeting last week in Alabama
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson convened an official meeting of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force last week in Mobile, Ala. During the meeting, the task force created a citizens’ advisory committee to help guide the group’s efforts and released a strategy background document outlining the priorities of the ongoing gulf restoration. The meeting furthered the task force’s ongoing commitment to suppor the conservation and restoration of resilient and healthy ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico.
Jackson proposed to establish and support a 25-member Gulf of Mexico Citizen Advisory Committee during the meeting, acknowledging the need to ensure residents and local organizations have a formal process to offer input and guidance on the work of the task force and to voice environmental concerns. The newly formed committee will hold its first official meeting later this summer.
During the meeting, the task force also identified four key priorities for the ongoing restoration of the gulf, including enhancing community resilience, restoring and conserving habitat, restoring water quality, and replenishing and protecting living coastal and marine resources. The priorities were developed based on input from the general public and key stakeholder groups throughout the region. The task force plans for the priorities to serve as the main restorations goals and will identify specific actions to help to achieve these goals.
The meeting was the latest in a series that the task force is holding throughout five states. Previous meetings were held in New Orleans and Pensacola, Fla. President Obama issued an executive order in October to create the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, continuing the administration’s ongoing commitment to the gulf region. The task force works to integrate federal restoration efforts with those of local stakeholders and state and tribal governments, and to facilitate accountability and support throughout the restoration process.