County Commissioner Jim Melvin today confirmed that he will commit half of the cost of the reef construction deployment which will be match by the Santa Rosa Tourist Development Committee (TDC) who pledged support in a meeting earlier this week. His March newsletter on the Santa Rosa County website announces is commitment.
The TDC pledged to fund half of the cost of deploying reefs into the two Santa Rosa Sound sites and the Gulf of Mexico site being permitted off of Navarre Beach. The pledge came during the Wednesday, March 9th South End TDC meeting. Mandy Evers (Marine Sanctuary Committee Chair person) presented information to the TDC about the current status of the program and answered questions about the reefs, their economic, educational, and environmental impact and the future plans for the reef program. The commitment during the South End meeting must be confirmed by the full TDC which meets later this month.
Previously County Commissioner Jim Melvin has said in public statements that he will seek to fund the deployment of the reefs and has stressed avid support of the program. Today (March 10th) Commissioner Melvin confirmed to Mandy Evers that he will commit the funds pending issuing of the required federal permits. Once the permits are issued, a formal vote will be held by the County Commission to appropriate the committed funds.
With full funding for the program in hand, the only obstacle to installing the reefs is obtaining the required federal permits. State permits have been issued and the Federal permits are going through the final approval process with the Army Corps of Engineers. The Marine Sanctuary Committee continues with fund raising an community awareness activities such as the Run for the Reef and a planned reef sponsorship program to provide features such as educational interpretive signage, reef maintenance, and funding for unplanned expenses and contingencies.
The 100% funding is a huge milestone for the Marine Sanctuary program. We anticipate changing of our slogan soon from Make Navarre Snorkelicious! to Navarre IS Snorkelicious!