Florida State University could get $8 million to come up with a plan to revitalize Franklin County’s Apalachicola Bay. A decade of natural and man-made disasters have crippled it, and by extension the community that depends on it.
FSU is applying for an $8 million grant from Triumph Gulf Coast. That’s the entity created by the state legislature to administer a settlement from the 2010 BP Oil Spill. If Triumph grants FSU’s proposal, the university would put another $1.5 million of its own money toward a study that would eventually produce a plan for restoring the Bay and its prized oysters.
FSU’s plan is supported by the Franklin County Commission, the National Wildlife Federation and the Apalachicola River Keeper, the Apalachicola Bay Oyster Management Group, which includes the seafood workers association.
However, there is some opposition. In a December letter, the Florida Shellfish Aquaculture Association questioned whether part of FSU’s plan to produce oyster spat for aquaculture and restoration puts the school in competition with private businesses. The Association also questions whether the university’s research proposal is in line with Triumph’s goal of funding projects for economic development.
The university says its proposed hatchery is for research purposes only. Triumph's board is scheduled to hear FSU's proposal at its Monday meeting.