Map of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Funded Projects Launches

Sept. 9, 2014

~More than 20 projects featured across the Panhandle~

Today, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, along with Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, launched their user-friendly map featuring the projects that are being implemented with Deepwater Horizon oil spill funds. Exact geographic locations, improved fact sheets and striking photos are highlights of the new map. DEP and FWC have been working collectively to implement projects across Florida’s Panhandle since the spill occurred in April 2010.

Over the last four years, several important projects and programs have broken ground in Florida. Nearly $12 million in Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) early restoration funds have been used for project implementation through the state of Florida. These funds stem from an agreement signed by the five Gulf states, the U.S. Department of Interior, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Justice and BP Exploration & Production Inc. in 2011.

Some of the early restoration projects include boat-ramp enhancements that provide improved access to recreational activities such as boating and fishing in the Gulf, which are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. The construction work on three of the four boat ramps is complete and construction on the fourth, Perdido River boat ramp, is expected to begin this fall. An early restoration conservation project aims to restore a sea turtle nesting habitat, which was significantly disturbed during the spill-response efforts. The sea turtle habitat project will work to reduce impacts of lighting on public lands, which will benefit sea turtles’ natural navigation to the Gulf.

“While this is a step in the right direction, there is much more work needed to fully address the damage to the natural resources of the Gulf and the state of Florida,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard, Jr. “We will continue to work to ensure Florida’s natural resources are fully restored.”

In addition to NRDA projects, a 2012 Deepwater Horizon settlement allowed for $10 million in funding to implement stormwater projects and land acquisitions. Several stormwater management projects have broken ground in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Bay counties and are improving water quality of various bays that feed into the Gulf. A conservation easement at Seven Runs Creek, which is a part of the Florida Forever project in Walton County, is being managed by DEP’s Division of State Lands. Another property acquisition funded by this settlement, Escribano Point in Santa Rosa County, was also subsequently awarded National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) funding for restoration and management.

The Escribano Point acquisition, management and restoration project provides protection for more than 10 miles of shoreline and benefits the fragile river and bay systems. This region of the Yellow River Wildlife Management Area represents high- value coastal fish and wildlife habitat located in the East Bay portion of Pensacola Bay. The shoreline provides stopover and foraging habitat for migrating shorebird species such as the Cuban snowy plover, least tern and black skimmer. It also protects the estuarine system and adjacent Blackwater Bay, which contain seagrass beds vital to fish and other marine species.

NFWF manages the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, which receives Deepwater Horizon-related criminal settlement funds to be distributed among the five Gulf states. In addition to the Escribano Point project, five other projects were awarded funding in 2013 and are featured on the map.

The map provides the public an easy to access, quick overview of Deepwater Horizon project progress. For more information and to check out the map visit www.deepwaterhorizonflorida.com.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: