FWC and DEP continue to prepare the final Restoration Strategy. Please stay involved with Restoration Strategy development and the water management district Surface Water Improvement and Management planning updates, as appropriate:
Click here for more information on the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.
March 2017 - The Florida House of Representatives passed House Bill 7077- Gulf Coast Economic Corridor and House Bill 7079- Trust Funds/Creation/Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund/DEO. HB 7077 requires a specified percentage of payments from the Deepwater Horizon lawsuit to be transferred to the Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund; revises provisions concerning the trust account managed by Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.; revises provisions regarding employees Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., may hire; revises conflict of interest restrictions imposed on board members; requires Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., to post upcoming awards on its website; specifies uses of awards from Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.; provides appropriations. HB 7079 creates the Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund within the Department of Economic Opportunity; exempts the trust fund from the general revenue service charge; provides for purpose of the trust fund and source of funds; provides for future review and termination or re-creation of the trust fund.
Most notably, the changes are to guarantee that at least 6 percent of funds appropriated for awards are expended in each county over the lifetime of the settlement. The bill also increased Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. board membership from five to seven members. Seventy five percent of the funds earmarked for the eight disproportionately affected counties will be deposited in the Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund. Awards may be provided for:
- Ad valorem tax rate reduction within disproportionately affected counties;
- Local match requirements of s.288.0655 for projects in the disproportionately affected counties;
- Public infrastructure projects that are shown to enhance economic recovery, diversification, and enhancement of the disproportionately affected counties;
- Grants to local governments in the disproportionately affected counties to establish and maintain equipment and trained personnel for local action plans of response to respond to disasters, such as plans created for the Coastal Impacts Assistance Program;
- Early childhood development and educational programs and services for children from birth to 5 years of age in the disproportionately affected counties;
- Grants to support programs that prepare students for future occupations and careers at K-20 institutions that have campuses in the disproportionately affected counties. Eligible programs include those that increase students' technology skills and knowledge; encourage industry certifications; provide rigorous, alternative pathways for students to meet high school graduation requirements; strengthen career readiness initiatives; fund high-demand programs of emphasis at the bachelor's and master's level designated by the Board of Governors; and, similar to or the same as talent retention programs created by the Chancellor of the State University System and the Commission of Education, encourage students with interest or aptitude for science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medical disciplines to pursue postsecondary education at a state university or a Florida College System institution within the disproportionately affected counties;
- Grants to support programs that provide participants in the disproportionately affected counties with transferrable, sustainable workforce skills that are not confined to a single employer; and
- Grants to the tourism entity created under s. 370 288.1226 for the purpose of advertising and promoting tourism, Fresh From Florida, or related content on behalf of one or all of the disproportionately affected counties.