MARRERO, La., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has announced the third and largest phase of early restoration projects linked to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The restoration proposals include $627 million to restore natural resources and make key recreational improvements in 44 projects across Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Texas, a Department of the Interior release said Friday.
Jewell made the announcement at the end of a two-day visit to Louisiana to see firsthand efforts under way to recover from the 2010 oil spill and to strengthen coastal resilience.
"The Gulf of Mexico watershed is a large and diverse landscape that is critical to our nation's culture, economy and environment," Jewell said. "Today's announcement is an important step as we work to not only restore the natural resources that were impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but to also build back the resiliency of the region. This is good news for the economy, with restoration work supporting jobs and strengthening the tourism industry."
The 44 proposed projects are part of the agreement with BP to provide $1 billion for Gulf Coast restoration prior to completion of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment, officials said.
The projects include restoration of marshes, barrier islands, dunes, shorelines and oyster beds, as well as projects to enhance access to recreational and other human-use opportunities across the Gulf.