Nature Conservancy Thanks Gov. Scott and NRDA Trustees for Gulf Restoration Project Spending
Conservancy polling shows 75 percent of voters prefer fines be spent on coastal restoration.
Altamonte Springs, FL | May 02, 2013
The Nature Conservancy applauds Gov. Rick Scott and the state of Florida in their selection announced today of $58 million in Gulf of Mexico restoration projects through the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment, says Jenny Conner Nelms, The Nature Conservancy’s director of governmental relations in Florida.
“These projects will advance large-scale restoration in the Gulf of Mexico by restoring healthy shorelines, protecting freshwater resources, and ensuring the participation of Gulf of Mexico communities and people in the economic benefits of restoration activities.
Projects such as oyster reef restoration and strengthening living shorelines restore damaged ecosystems and reduce vulnerability to storms. Protecting and restoring these important habitats also creates social and economic resilience by sustaining tourism and other coastal businesses, as well as improving critical nursery areas for the Gulf’s fisheries.
Recent bipartisan polling conducted on The Nature Conservancy's behalf in Gulf Coast communities shows that more than three-quarters of voters in Gulf coast counties and parishes prefer that funds paid by those responsible for violations of the Clean Water Act be used for coastal restoration.
While living shoreline projects enhance a suite of fish and wildlife populations and their supporting habitats, they also will provide public benefits through: enhanced fisheries that can feed the coastal economy, stabilized shorelines which improve water quality, protected private and public properties, improved coastal community resilience, and improved quality of life with a healthier environment.
Protecting and restoring oyster reefs provides benefits to Florida’s residents and visitors by bolstering the local economies through the creation of jobs and supporting natural resource livelihoods, as well as sustaining tourism and other coastal businesses. Restored oyster reefs also reduce the vulnerability of human communities to the impacts of coastal hazards such as storm surge and flooding.
By directing NRDA funds to smart restoration projects, Florida is making a strong statement that investments in environmental restoration can drive economic restoration. Florida’s county, state, and federal leaders working to direct the various pots of funding resulting from the Deepwater Horizon disaster have the opportunity to create a lasting legacy for the state's gulf coast.”
Florida’s Proposed NRDA Phase III Projects: Approximately $58 million, announced today through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection:
- Florida Gulf Coast Marine Fisheries Hatchery/ Enhancement Center, Escambia County. Approximately $20 million
- Florida Artificial Reef Creation and Restoration, Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, and Bay counties. Approximately $11.4 million
- Pensacola Bay Living Shoreline, Escambia County. Approximately $11 million
- Florida Oyster Reef Restoration Escambia, Santa Rosa, Bay and Franklin counties. Approximately $5.4 million
- Scallop Enhancement for Increased Recreational Fishing Opportunity in the Florida Panhandle, Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, and Franklin counties. Approximately $3 million
- Florida Bay Seagrass Recovery Project, Gulf, Franklin and Bay counties. Approximately $2.7 million
- Big Lagoon State Park Boat Ramp Improvement, Escambia County. Approximately $1.5 million
- Bob Sikes Pier Restoration, Escambia County. Approximately $1 million
- Shell Point Beach Nourishment, Wakulla County. Approximately $880,000
- Florida Cat Point Living Shoreline Project, Franklin County. Approximately $800,000
- Perdido Key Boardwalk Improvements, Escambia County. Approximately $600,000
- Perdido Key Dune Restoration, Escambia County. Approximately $600,000
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.