July 27, 2015
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has signed an agreement to award $4.4 million to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to implement the Oyster Cultch Placement project, which will restore oyster beds in Apalachicola, Pensacola and St. Andrew bays. This award is part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Phase III early restoration funding as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
On April 20, 2011, BP agreed to provide $1 billion in early restoration funds to the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees for early restoration projects. With this award, Florida’s portion of the Phase III early restoration funding, which is $100 million, is completely funded; however, state officials continue to participate in developing projects for federal agencies to implement in Florida.
Oyster bed restoration is critical to healthy estuaries. This project will place oyster cultch material for the settling of oyster larva and colonization. Pensacola Bay and St. Andrew Bay will each have 12,000 cubic yards of material placed over 60 acres. In Apalachicola Bay, 18,000 cubic yards of material will be placed over 90 acres. The ecosystem of the estuary and water quality of the bay are improved through projects such as these.
For more information on the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process and projects, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/.