BP money benefits Coastal Bend conservation projects

By David Sikes

CORPUS CHRISTI – More than 600 acres of Coastal Bend wildlife habitat was added to the list of Texas benefits from criminal settlements stemming from the BP oil spill, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced.

Awards totaling more than $2.8 million for Coastal Bend projects follow a previously announced acquisition of the 17,000-acre Powderhorn Ranch in Calhoun County, destined to become a Texas state park and wildlife management area. Most of the purchase price, $34.5 million, came from the foundation’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, which was derived from plea agreements involving BP and Transocean after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

These projects, announced Monday, were developed by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas General Land Office, with help from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Artist Boat, Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, Galveston Bay Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, and Scenic Galveston. Each is designed to remedy or reduce harm to natural resources affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a news release from the fish and wildlife foundation.

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