Tag-Archive for » Area Chamber Of Commerce «

August 25th, 2012 | Author:

All three pavilions on the sound at  Navarre Beach County Park have new walkway improvements and showers thanks to  Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation  funding and a solid partnership with Santa Rosa County.   The Foundation provided the funds from monies raised by their Marine Sanctuary Committee and reserved for Marine Sanctuary and related program use.   The monies were used to purchase material and the county provided the sweat and muscles to get it done.     Sand fences  will also be installed  near two of the pavilions to mark a clear path through the sand from the pavilions to the shore near the reef areas, which will help direct foot traffic and  minimize damage to the natural vegetation.

Signs identifying the sound side reef areas as snorkel reefs where no motorized vessels are allowed have also been deployed on all  the sound side reef marker pilings

June 15th, 2009 | Author:

Building a snorkeler’s sanctuary
Group installing reefs to draw tourists, sea life

By: Louis Cooper • lcooper@pnj.com • June 15, 2009 PNJ.COM

When Hurricane Opal shut down the Navarre Pier in 1995, fishermen were put off, but snorkelers rejoiced.

Navarre resident Brenda Stokes called the underwater environs around the quieted pier “a wonderland.”

“Because the pier is there with the shade, it’s phenomenal what comes there,” Stokes said. “I think we documented over 50 different kinds of fish, and there’s the sponges and sea grasses that grow on the pilings. Each piling is like a little ecosystem. There’s even juvenile octopus.”

Once the pier was repaired and fishing resumed, the snorkeling had to stop. But Stokes and others birthed the idea of building reefs and platforms to create an underwater recreation area that would welcome sea life for snorkelers to appreciate. Thus was born the idea behind the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary.

Although the project has been discussed for years, it recently has received starter money from the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council and the blessing of the Santa Rosa County Commission. The project could be completed by July 2013.

“This is not common in the state of Florida,” Stokes said. “One on the east coast of Florida was so popular, you couldn’t get into the park on the weekend. The ones that are in shallow waters are really popular. This is completely geared toward the beginner snorkeler — anyone who can put on a mask.”

Tourism and education

The sanctuary will consist of three components — Gulf Side Snorkeling/Diving Reef, Sound Side Snorkeling Reef and Gulf Side Observation Pier, said Mark Griffith, chairman of the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary Committee. That committee operates under the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

“Environmentally, the reefs will improve water quality in the Sound, increase marine biodiversity and provide essential marine habitat for juvenile fish species,” said Griffith, a Navarre technology consultant and recreational fisherman. “Educationally the reefs will encourage more marine research, study, and grant activity by providing a centerpiece amenity complementing the (new Navarre Beach Marine Science Station) at the park.”

The sanctuary could pump as much as $1.17 million annually into the local economy, the committee predicts. That’s based on two National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration studies of the impact of near-shore reef facilities and the study of the impact of the sinking of the Oriskany south of Pensacola as an artificial reef.

The committee believes the sanctuary will generate at least a 3 percent increase in Santa Rosa tourism.

Kate Wilkes, executive director of the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council, called near-shore diving and snorkeling an “up-and-coming” area of tourist activity.

“It’s not like you have to go way, way out, like the Oriskany. It’s close by,” Wilkes said. “It’s another thing to offer, enjoying our natural resources, getting in the water, whether it’s in the Sound or in the Gulf.”

Charlene Mauro Fearon, a marine science teacher at Navarre High School who has been active in the project, looks forward to using the sanctuary in the coursework at the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station.

“We will do a study of habitat and type of fish that want to call it home,” Fearon said. “I hope to run a partnership with the marine sanctuary and include my students on surveys on the biodiversity that occurs. It’s real research that we can do over years.”

Aquatic life that Fearon expects will call the sanctuary home include yellow tail, sheep’s head, gobies, blennies, sea anemones, jellyfish, squid, sea turtles and nurse sharks.

Project seeking money

The sanctuary carries an estimated cost of about $2.3 million. The Tourist Development Council has allocated $6,000 to be used for permit applications for Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The project has collected about $400 in private donations, but Griffith has high hopes for more.

“Our goal is to fund the bulk of the project using private and corporate donations and grants,” he said. “We are very interested in partnering with local corporations for both monetary support and in kind contributions for things like meeting space, printing, advertisement” and more.

The committee plans to raise money through its Web site, www.navarrebeachmarinesanctuary.com, as well as events like the Run for the Reef 5K, scheduled for Oct. 10. The committee also is applying for an IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area grant.

The Santa Rosa County Commission approved a resolution giving the sanctuary its blessing in May, smoothing the application process for project.

“It will be a unique attraction in Santa Rosa County and Northwest Florida,” said County Commissioner Gordon Goodin. “In an area surrounded by water, the facility will be a natural and appropriate part of life in Northwest Florida.”

But Goodin doesn’t see the project getting significant money from the county.

“I haven’t seen a budget or scope of the project that details costs,” he said. “I’m certain the county may have some costs that it will bear (like in kind donations and administrative expense), but I would expect most of the funding to come from grants and legislative appropriations.”

Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary Details

The Phase I: Gulf Side Reef

— Planned as 22 clusters of seven concrete pilings, sunk about 30 to 35 feet below the surface in 10 to 25 feet of water. The reef area encompasses a 263-foot-by-71-foot area about 300 feet south of the shoreline at the near the center point of the Navarre Beach Park. The top of each piling cluster will be about 6 feet below the water’s surface and lighted marker buoys 100 feet from the southernmost cluster will mark south east and south west corners closed to watercraft.

— Estimated cost: $300,000 to $400,000.

— Completion: Between June 2011 and February 2012

The Phase II: Sound Side Reef

— Planned off the northern shore of the park in 7 to 10 feet of water in Santa Rosa Sound. There will be 105, three-tier, ecosystem-type reefs in clusters of five, providing 93,360 square feet of reef surface. Four marker buoys on the corners of the area will indicate the area closed to watercraft.

— Estimated cost: $133,000.

— Completion: Between August 2011 and February 2012

The Phase III: Observation Pier

— Planned to extend into the Gulf and partially over the northern end of the Gulf Side Reef to allow pedestrian access to view the reef and the snorkeling/diving activity.

— Estimated cost: $1.8 million to $1.9 million

— Completion: Between November 2012 and July 2013

For More Information See http://www.navarrebeachmarinesanctuary.com

May 19th, 2009 | Author:

Be a “RUN for the REEF” 5K Charity Race sponsor!

When: October 10th, 2009

Where: Navarre Beach Park/Pier Parking Lot

It’s Easy – You can do it on line at


Just write “Run for the Reef” under Special Instructions for Seller and the information asked below (name, company, email, phone and sponsorship level) when reviewing your on line donation.

Levels of sponsorship between Silver and Gold are also available – please contact Mark Griffith at 850-677-1875 to or email him at navbms@navarrebeachmarinesanctuary.com to find out more.

Gold      $2000 Prime sponsors – logo on front of t-shirt (Max of 2 Prime sponsors)
Silver       $250 Small logo or larger font – company or business listing on back (Max of 10)
Bronze     $100 Small font – company or business listing on back of t-shirt

Name:  _______________________________________________________

E Mail:  ________________________________________________

Phone: _____________________________________________________

Company:  ____________________________________________________

“Run For the Reef” Sponsorship Level:

Gold    $2000 ___

Silver       $250 ___

Bronze $100 ___

Or you can do it by check – pay to Navarre COC Foundation Account – Indicate Run Sponsorship in Memo and include the information from the form above. You can copy and paste the above form information into a word document and print it or go here to view/download it in .pdf format.  Completed forms can be delivered to the Chamber at the Visitor’s Center at the Hwy 98 and the Navarre Beach Bridge or mailed to:
Navarre Area Chamber of Commerce, PO Drawer 5430, Navarre, FL 32566

May 19th, 2009 | Author:

We are Making Navarre Snorkelicious with two snorkeling/diving reefs and a pier.  The reefs will be beautiful, and benefit our economy and coastal ecosystem, as well as provide marine life education to children and adults.

As residents of Navarre, we are excited about this project for three main reasons:

•    Economy            –  $1.17 Million/Yr Economic Output
•    Environment    –   Increased Biodiversity and Cleaner Water
•    Education         –   Centerpiece Amenity for Marine Science Center

***How You or Your Business Can Help***

Sponsorship of the “Run for the Reef” charity 5k run and 1mile fun run October 10th.

Race Volunteers – Volunteer to be on the Run for the Reef Subcommittee to help plan and execute the Run for the Reef charity 5k run in the fall.

Event Volunteers – Volunteer to help man our booth at community events or with the International Coastal Cleanup in September

Tax Deductible Donations – On line at  http://www.navarrebeachmarinesanctuary.com/donations
By check payable to Navarre COC Foundation Account (include Marine Sanctuary in the memo of your check).  at the Visitor’s Center at the Hwy 98 and the Navarre Beach Bridge or mailed to:
Navarre Area Chamber of Commerce
PO Drawer 5430
Navarre, FL 32566

For details on how you can Make Navarre Snorkelicious visit our website or email us at navbms@navarrebeachmarinesanctuary.com.


Your friends at the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary
Mark Griffith / Chairman

March 11th, 2009 | Author:

Welcome to the new website supporting development of a Gulf and Sound side Snorkeling and Diving Reefs at Navarre Beach Florida.

The Artificial Marine Reefs will provide exciting recreation and educational opportunities for our local community and visitors.

If you are interested in helping please contact us.  The Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary Committee is a non profit organization and a committee of the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.  We encourage all people who are interested in this new project to contact us for more information or just come on out to our next meeting.

The Marine Sanctuary Committee would like to thank Kenny Wilder and Brad Riley for their help in getting our new site up and running!!