Gulf eligible for $40M in oil spill recovery grants

Gulf landowners will be eligible for $40 million in new conservation grants to help offset the ecological damage from the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

The Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) are partnering to provide the additional support, with each putting up $20 million dollars. An additional $30 million could be added over the next four years.

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"The health of the Gulf ecosystem will be decided by how well we treat the private lands that make up most of this region," said Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackThomas James VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE in a statement Tuesday announcing the grants.

“In addition to our many Farm Bill conservation programs, partnering with NFWF and private landowners will enable us to continue to make progress in this region and achieve our goals for a healthy Gulf ecosystem," he added.

The agency and wildlife foundation will help private landowners participate in ongoing conservation efforts in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Texas, all of which were affected by the Deepwater Horizon spill.

The projects include wetland conservation, stream and riparian restoration and farm and ranch land protection.

The additional assistance targets private landowners who have not been eligible to participate in current restoration efforts.