The Florida Trustee Implementation Group which was created to oversee restoration efforts after the BP oil spill has released a second Draft Restoration Plan and now want to know what the public thinks about it.
The 19 restoration projects in the plan would cost over 62 million dollars to complete – the money would come from fines levied after the BP oil spill devastated Florida beaches and the Gulf of Mexico in the summer of 2010.
The projects reach from Escambia to Franklin Counties – the area most impacted by the BP oil spill.
The proposal include 4 habitat projects on federally managed lands, 3 projects to protect sea turtles and another to protect marine mammals.
There are also 4 projects related to bird protection and 7 projects to provide and enhance recreational opportunities in Northwest Florida.
The only project specifically for our area is 3.2 million dollars to buy property at Indian Pass to improve and protect access to St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge.
The project would acquire and enhance a 10 to15-acre parcel at Indian Pass to ensure boating access St. Vincent Island.
Currently the Refuge has a 50 year lease for a boat slip at a current cost of $14,400 per year.
Other projects include over 5 million dollars to reduce threats to sea turtles by removing barriers to sea turtle nesting activities both in-water and on beaches.
The 452 page plan is currently available to the public and public comment is being accepted through March 29th.
A public webinar on the plan will be held on March 11th.
You can find the draft restoration plan and information about the webinar at gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov