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January 13th, 2012 | Author:

The National Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Phase I Early Restoration plan has been published as a draft and includes eight projects totaling $57 Million to be initially implemented in the 5 states bordering the Gulf Of Mexico. The Early Restoration program will include $1 Billion and is the selected process by which funding for BP Oil Spill damages may begin in advance of the multi year total damage assessment process. The NRDA is one of the government led BP Oil Spill recovery efforts and is associated with the requirement of BP making the public whole from the environmental damages, including loss of natural resources, damage to natural resources and loss of use/enjoyment of the resources.

Two public meetings (Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola) to present and hear comments on the plan have been held and 10 more are scheduled throughout the public comment period that ends February 14th.

Of the eight projects in Phase I draft of the early restoration plan document, two are Florida projects – both in Escambia county. These initial Florida projects total $5 Million with $4.4 Million going for Boat Ramp Enhancement and Construction and the balance funding 2o acres of Dune Restoration along Pensacola beach.

Of the $1 Billion to be paid by BP for early restoration projects, $100 Million will go to each of the five states to manage/implement independently, and $500 million will be for related projects to be managed through the Federal Government’s Department of Interior(DOI) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The $57 Million of Phase I projects included in the draft plan are the initial set of projects being considered with the balance to follow through the NRDA project selection process.

You may view the plan document at http://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Final-ERP-121311-print-version-update.pdf

Comments can be submitted verbally or in writing at any of the public comment meetings, via mail at US Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O> Box 2099, Fairhope, AL 336533 or via the web at one of the following addresses.


August 20th, 2011 | Author:

The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE)  received a positive response from NOAA on the required section 7 consult for ALL of our Gulf and Sound Side reef area permits.  This means National Marine Fisheries Service of NOAA agrees with the biological assessment written by Keith Johnson of Wetland Sciences (our environmental consultant).    The action indicates we have cleared the final large hurdle with the only step left being the creation by the ACOE of the permit conditions.  The conditions basically dictate what we can and can not do within the permit area such as materials allowed, setback distances, etc.    As of August 11th There is currently only one permit ahead of us in that process.  The Marine Sanctuary permit conditions  will be drafted next.  After the conditions are written and approved by the  ACOE, they will be issued to Santa Rosa County.   The final approval is expected without delay once the conditions are written.  These final steps are expected to be complete with permits in hand within six weeks (September).

The Marine Sanctuary Committee is working with Santa Rosa County on finalizing the implementation plan so that process may begin as soon as permits are in hand.

March 12th, 2010 | Author:

Escambia County received word today from NOAA,  of a favorable ruling for the  snorekeling reef permits in the sound near the Fort Pickens gate and nearshore in the Gulf, just west of  Casino Beach.   This means  after the Army Corps of Engineers is officially notified of the ruling, that Federal Permits should be forthcoming.

This is GREAT NEWS for both Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.  Because of the favorable ruling, the way is paved for application of the same criteria and precedent  inthe permits being sought by the Marine Sanctuary.  We are one very large step closer to Making Navarre Snorkelicious!!

Another bit of good news is that the re survey of the Navarre Gulf Reef Site came back with no changes to the original survey.  This means no  information gathered for the Navarre Gulf side snorkeling reef permits will need to be altered, which should further help the speed of the permitting process.