The Marine Sanctuary Committee has changed the Marine Sanctuary Plan to replace the Phase III observation pier with a more realistic and promising set of projects. The projects have already been documented, and submitted for funding consideration with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) which is administering funds associated with the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill disaster. The projects are referenced within the DEP project system as SR 26 and SR 27 and already have county concurrence. Both projects and the updated sanctuary plan are summarized on the Plans and Documents page of our website. SR 26 provides for additional beach dune walkovers and equipment wash down stations to encourage and increase access and ease of transportation for park visitors with scuba equipment, kayaks, or other similar beach equipment. SR 27 is a project to permit and fully populate a 1 mile by 2 mile near shore artificial reef area approximately 1 mile south of the Navarre Beach shore. Costs for the projects are estimated at approximately $1.8 Million.
Bob Boston will be spearheading the effort for both permitting and funding of the projects. The Marine Sanctuary Committee has already committed $6,000 to develop permit applications and that work is currently underway with our Environmental Consultant.
Here’s to keeping Navarre Snorkelicious!
Santa Rosa County has received and reviewed the final draft Federal Permits from the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE). The county is set to sign the permits and has begun the procurement/deployment process for the beach accessible snorkeling reefs on the Gulf Side of Navarre Beach Park. A final federal (ACOE) permit for the two Sound Side reef sites is expected within the next month. Applications for the required Gulf side and Sound side federal permits were submitted in September of 2009. The federal permit process was expected to take 18 months but has been delayed due to the ACOE activities associated with The Deep Horizon oil spill and associated responses. State permits were granted for both sites in 2009.
The reefs specified in the permit are the Eco System piling mounted disc reefs, a patented design by Walter Marine. If contracting details can be put together within the next two weeks, the reefs could get the go ahead from the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commission (BOCC) as early as February 23rd. The installation process itself will not be long (2-3 days in the Gulf and 3-5 days for the Sound), but a suitable weather window with multiple days of calm seas is critical for the Gulf reef installation. Weather is not as critical for the installation of the Sound side reefs. Depending on the timing of receiving the federal permits for the Sound side reefs and weather conditions, the Sound side reefs may be installed earlier than the Gulf reefs. Historically, the sea state gets calmer as we get into June, but we are hopeful the weather cooperates and the reef installation can proceed as soon as possible.