Trustees for the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment have proposed $58 million in restoration projects along the state’s oil spill-affected Gulf coast — including a $20 million fish hatchery in Pensacola and $14 million in other projects in the county.
Originally presented to the City Council in June 2011, the Florida Gulf Coast Marine Fisheries Hatchery and Enhancement Center is slated to include a state-of-the-art saltwater fish hatchery, an integrated coastal habitat plant production facility, and a venue for public outreach and education on marine resources conservation. The Council voted unanimously to authorize Mayor Hayward to negotiate a lease for the proposed hatchery at the Bruce Beach site, located south of Main Street west of the Community Maritime Park.
“This is a huge win for Pensacola,” said Mayor Hayward. “This hatchery will be a tremendous asset for our community and our region. Over the past two years, I’ve been fighting every day to make sure Pensacola gets the funding and the resources we deserve. I want to thank Governor Rick Scott for his continued leadership and advocacy for our state and for Northwest Florida.”
The projects would be paid out of a $100 million pot of money from BP from an April 2011 agreement that is overseen by the trustees. Florida has already approved and begun work on seven projects, including several boat ramps, dune restoration, and shorebird and sea turtle habitat restoration.
In the Escambia and Santa Rosa county areas, the projects also include:
- 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
- Big Lagoon State Park Boat Ramp Improvement, Escambia County. Approximately $1.5 million
- Bob Sikes Pier Restoration, Escambia County. Approximately $1 million
- Perdido Key Boardwalk Improvements, Escambia County. Approximately $600,000
- Perdido Key Dune Restoration, Escambia County. Approximately $600,000
“These early restoration projects will help revitalize our precious coastal ecology and restore our area’s natural resources after the damage of the BP oil spill,” said Rep Clay Ingram. “I am also hopeful that these plans will help ease the economic losses suffered by so many members of our community who depend on the environment for business and recreation.”
“We’re committed to restoring the environment and economy that families have relied upon in the Gulf for generations,” said Gov. Rick Scott. “These $58 million in Florida projects represent a critical step forward in recovering from the natural resource and recreational losses that resulted from the BP oil spill.”