Several Florida Panhandle counties are slated for about $90 million worth of early restoration projects to address areas impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill. Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel Vinyard, other Environmental leaders, as well as local officials made that announcement Friday in Panama City.
A total of 28 projects are slated to benefit an eight county area in the Florida Panhandle that Governor Rick Scott designated as hugely affected by the oil spill. Former Florida DEP Secretary Mimi Drew says the biggest amount of the $88 million will go to Escambia County.
“An $18 million project in Escambia for a hatchery that Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be building and managing, and of course, that will allow them to raise fish-gulf types of fish—and then release into the gulf to enhance fisheries,” said Drew.
But, she says there’s also regional projects that will stretch along all eight counties, including Franklin, Okaloosa, and Santa Rosa. There’re also Bay, Gulf, Wakulla, and Walton counties.
“For example, some oyster reefs—well be doing some oyster reef restoration will occur in multiple counties among those eight. And, living shorelines will be jointly shared between the state and the federal agencies on funding. So, we have some regional and some shared projects,” she added.
But, Drew says before any of that is finalized, the projects will go through a 60-day public comment period that runs through February 4th: one in Pensacola on January 28th and another on January 29th in Panama City.
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