Tom Kelsch, Senior VP for the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund

Gulf Week wraps up with a great episode of the Capitol Beach

$2.54 billion for coastal restoration. If that doesn’t get your attention, nothing will! On this episode of The Capitol Beach, Derek Brockbank interviews Tom Kelsch, Senior VP for the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF), at National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). NFWF has a long history of funding Gulf Coast restoration, and following the BP Oil Spill, a settlement agreement gave NFWF $2.54 billion to work with the five Gulf states (FL, AL, MS, LA, TX) for coastal habitat and wildlife restoration. Six years into the program about half that funding has been obligated. Hear about some of the biggest successes to date, as well as what the future holds, and learn why a private non-profit foundation has as much or more influence in Gulf Coast restoration as many government agencies.

Derek Brockbank

As Executive Director of ASBPA, Derek Brockbank is responsible for the growth, strategic planning, and government affairs goals of the nation’s leading organization advocating for beach and coastal restoration. With a background in climate and coastal conservation and experience as a grassroots organizer, Derek is getting ASBPA to lead coastal communities and coastal decision-makers in the tough but necessary conversations about how they will address sea level rise, increasing storm intensity, and other climate impacts. Prior to starting with ASBPA, Derek worked as campaign director for a coalition effort to restore the Mississippi River Delta and Coastal Louisiana, and was part of a gulf-wide campaign to pass the RESTORE Act, securing billions of dollars for Gulf Coast restoration. This followed up on his work with National Wildlife Federation on climate adaption. Derek started his career as a grassroots organizer. He attended the University of Chicago, getting a degree in political science and environmental studies, while frequently running along Lake Michigan in weather more suited to skiing. Derek grew up in New York City and got his coastal education from an early age playing on the beaches of Long Island, and kayaking and fishing in Peconic Bay.