Tag-Archive for » Pensacola Bay «

October 24th, 2010 | Author:

The Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary program came in 2nd place again this year for the Pensacola Bay Area Impact 100 grant.  At the Impact 100 organization’s annual meeting, the full grant amount of  $114,000 was awarded to the other finalist in the Environmental, Recreation and Preservation category,  St. Michael’s Cemetery Preservation Program.    Had the Marine Sanctuary been awarded the grant,  the  monies would have funded two of the three reef sites in the Marine Sanctuary plan.

This marks the second year the Marine Sanctuary program has been a finalist for the Impact 100 grant.   Mandy Evers authored this year’s grant and was successful at getting the program to the finals for this, the second consecutive year.    Site visits were conducted with each applicant by  Impact 100 committees  after which two finalist in each of five categories were selected.  The vote was held to award the grant immediately after the final presentations at the annual meeting.

While we are disappointed that the Marine Sanctuary was not the recipient,  congratulations go the St. Michael’s Cemetary Preservation Program for their achievement.   The Marine Sanctuary Committee also thanks the members of the Pensacola Bay Area Impact 100 for the opportunity to  compete for the grant.

October 21st, 2010 | Author:

For years now Escambia and Santa Rosa County visitors and residents alike have asked the question  – Where can we snorkel?  A ready answer may be forthcoming.

Beach accessible snorkeling and diving reefs are in the process of being installed off Pensacola beach and could be in place as early as November 1.  Within the next month the Marine Resources Division of Escambia county should have permit applications for a similar Perdido Key snorkeling reef ready for submission by Escambia county.

To top it off, the state permits for Navarre Beach snorkeling and diving reefs in the Gulf and in Santa Rosa Sound are in hand with the federal permits expected to be issued next year.  In addition, the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary Committee is pursuing a $114,000 grant from the Pensacola Bay Area Impact 100 organization which could fund two of the three sites planned there (1 in the gulf and 1 in he sound).

With the creation of all three sites – a real snorkeling trail will emerge.   This will make not only Navarre, but the Emerald Coast…..Snorkelicious!

August 14th, 2010 | Author:

The Environmental Committee for Pensacola Bay Area Impact 100 conducted a site visit with the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary Committee this morning  (Saturday August 14th).   Impact 100 is a group of 560 women in the Pensacola Bay Area, who with their financial contributions and effective management of an annual grant program, provide over $500,000 in funding to worthy charitable organization programs  in five categories.   Last year the Marine Sanctuary was a finalist in the environmental category.  We are again pursuing the grant opportunity in the Environmental category this year.

We were pleased to share with the Impact 100 members, the current status of our efforts to bring beach accessible reefs to Navarre Beach and the positive impact the program will have on our region.  Many thanks to the Impact 100 organization and the members who took time out of their weekend to visit us at Navarre Beach.   While there we provided program information, toured the reef locations, and answered questions about the program, our progress and plans.

After site visits have been conducted with the grant applicants, two finalists in each of five categories will be selected and announced.  Each finalist will make a presentation before the full Impact 100 organization at their annual meeting in the Fall.   During the meeting,  each of the five grants (one in each category) will be announced and awarded.    We are hopeful and optimistic about our application, and look forward to the announcement of the finalists.

February 23rd, 2010 | Author:

Pensacola area reefing effort is also moving ahead.   Officials are hoping to install three reefs per this Pensacola News Journal Article

From: Kimberly Blair o kblair@pnj.com  on February 11, 2010
Snorkels, masks and fins may soon become as essential to a day on Pensacola Beach as sunscreen and boogie boards.
A proposal to install three near-shore snorkeling reefs is in the works, according to W.A. “Buck” Lee, executive director of the Santa Rosa Island Authority, and Robert Turpin, manager of Escambia’s Marine Resources Division.
One of the reefs would be located a couple hundred feet into the Gulf of Mexico near Park East, east of the Portofino towers. The piling-style reef would be geared for experienced snorkelers
Two pyramid-style reefs would be located in Pensacola Bay near Park West at the entrance to the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The one closest to shore would be geared for children and novices, and one about 500 feet farther out would be for fishing and diving.
The three projects hinge on securing permits from a number of federal agencies, Turpin said.
The biggest hurdle is getting the National Marine Fisheries Service to sign off on the permits because the reefs are proposed in the critical Gulf sturgeon habitat, he said.
The county currently has 198 artificial reefs, including the largest in the world – the decommissioned aircraft carrier Oriskany. But, unlike the three proposed reefs, they’re accessible only by boat.
The goal of the snorkeling reefs is to generate more money for Pensacola Beach by providing tourists with more to do so they extend their vacations, Lee said.
Beverly McCay, general manager of Holiday Inn Express on Pensacola Beach near Park West, said guests often ask where’s the best place to snorkel or beach dive.
“Anything that enhances the vacation experience can extend the tourist’s stay,” McCay said. “Some tourists who come on a weekend may see that there’s so much to do and then decide to come back and spend a week.”
Randy Larcom of Bay Breeze Aquatics & Dive Center in Gulf Breeze said people call on a regular basis looking for snorkeling opportunities.
“Right now about the only place we can send anybody is Fort Pickens, but it’s not the best place to snorkel,” he said of the popular scuba-diving spot.
That’s because snorkelers have to compete with divers and fight strong currents at the mouth of Pensacola Pass, off Fort Pickens.
“Anything that can be made for tourists in shallow enough water would be a big help,” Larcom said.
His business, he said, would benefit by renting snorkeling equipment to people who could enjoy watching a variety of fish, such as snapper, grouper, flounder and trigger fish around the reefs. The three projects hinge on securing permits from a number of federal agencies, Turpin said.
The biggest hurdle is getting the National Marine Fisheries Service to sign off on the permits because the reefs are proposed in the critical Gulf sturgeon habitat, he said.
The county currently has 198 artificial reefs, including the largest in the world – the decommissioned aircraft carrier Oriskany. But, unlike the three proposed reefs, they’re accessible only by boat.
The goal of the snorkeling reefs is to generate more money for Pensacola Beach by providing tourists with more to do so they extend their vacations, Lee said.
Beverly McCay, general manager of Holiday Inn Express on Pensacola Beach near Park West, said guests often ask where’s the best place to snorkel or beach dive.
“Anything that enhances the vacation experience can extend the tourist’s stay,” McCay said. “Some tourists who come on a weekend may see that there’s so much to do and then decide to come back and spend a week.”
Randy Larcom of Bay Breeze Aquatics & Dive Center in Gulf Breeze said people call on a regular basis looking for snorkeling opportunities.
“Right now about the only place we can send anybody is Fort Pickens, but it’s not the best place to snorkel,” he said of the popular scuba-diving spot.
That’s because snorkelers have to compete with divers and fight strong currents at the mouth of Pensacola Pass, off Fort Pickens.
“Anything that can be made for tourists in shallow enough water would be a big help,” Larcom said.
His business, he said, would benefit by renting snorkeling equipment to people who could enjoy watching a variety of fish, such as snapper, grouper, flounder and trigger fish around the reefs.
Snorkelers now mostly hunt shells and sand dollars and, if they’re lucky, catch glimpses of fleeting fish.
Keith Wilkins, Escambia’s deputy chief for neighborhood and community services, said Escambia County bed taxes would pay for the reefs.
An exact dollar amount has not been calculated, but reefs are not expensive, he said.
“A small reef is about $10,000,” he said. “These projects may be a little more.”

Snorkelers could get place to kick their fins

Officials hoping to install three reefs

Kimberly Blair • kblair@pnj.com • February 11, 2010

Snorkels, masks and fins may soon become as essential to a day on Pensacola Beach as sunscreen and boogie boards.

A proposal to install three near-shore snorkeling reefs is in the works, according to W.A. “Buck” Lee, executive director of the Santa Rosa Island Authority, and Robert Turpin, manager of Escambia’s Marine Resources Division.

One of the reefs would be located a couple hundred feet into the Gulf of Mexico near Park East, east of the Portofino towers. The piling-style reef would be geared for experienced snorkelers

Two pyramid-style reefs would be located in Pensacola Bay near Park West at the entrance to the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The one closest to shore would be geared for children and novices, and one about 500 feet farther out would be for fishing and diving.

The three projects hinge on securing permits from a number of federal agencies, Turpin said.

The biggest hurdle is getting the National Marine Fisheries Service to sign off on the permits because the reefs are proposed in the critical Gulf sturgeon habitat, he said.

The county currently has 198 artificial reefs, including the largest in the world — the decommissioned aircraft carrier Oriskany. But, unlike the three proposed reefs, they’re accessible only by boat.

The goal of the snorkeling reefs is to generate more money for Pensacola Beach by providing tourists with more to do so they extend their vacations, Lee said.

Beverly McCay, general manager of Holiday Inn Express on Pensacola Beach near Park West, said guests often ask where’s the best place to snorkel or beach dive.

“Anything that enhances the vacation experience can extend the tourist’s stay,” McCay said. “Some tourists who come on a weekend may see that there’s so much to do and then decide to come back and spend a week.”

Randy Larcom of Bay Breeze Aquatics & Dive Center in Gulf Breeze said people call on a regular basis looking for snorkeling opportunities.

“Right now about the only place we can send anybody is Fort Pickens, but it’s not the best place to snorkel,” he said of the popular scuba-diving spot.

That’s because snorkelers have to compete with divers and fight strong currents at the mouth of Pensacola Pass, off Fort Pickens.

“Anything that can be made for tourists in shallow enough water would be a big help,” Larcom said.

His business, he said, would benefit by renting snorkeling equipment to people who could enjoy watching a variety of fish, such as snapper, grouper, flounder and trigger fish around the reefs. The three projects hinge on securing permits from a number of federal agencies, Turpin said.

The biggest hurdle is getting the National Marine Fisheries Service to sign off on the permits because the reefs are proposed in the critical Gulf sturgeon habitat, he said.

The county currently has 198 artificial reefs, including the largest in the world — the decommissioned aircraft carrier Oriskany. But, unlike the three proposed reefs, they’re accessible only by boat.

The goal of the snorkeling reefs is to generate more money for Pensacola Beach by providing tourists with more to do so they extend their vacations, Lee said.

Beverly McCay, general manager of Holiday Inn Express on Pensacola Beach near Park West, said guests often ask where’s the best place to snorkel or beach dive.

“Anything that enhances the vacation experience can extend the tourist’s stay,” McCay said. “Some tourists who come on a weekend may see that there’s so much to do and then decide to come back and spend a week.”

Randy Larcom of Bay Breeze Aquatics & Dive Center in Gulf Breeze said people call on a regular basis looking for snorkeling opportunities.

“Right now about the only place we can send anybody is Fort Pickens, but it’s not the best place to snorkel,” he said of the popular scuba-diving spot.

That’s because snorkelers have to compete with divers and fight strong currents at the mouth of Pensacola Pass, off Fort Pickens.

“Anything that can be made for tourists in shallow enough water would be a big help,” Larcom said.

His business, he said, would benefit by renting snorkeling equipment to people who could enjoy watching a variety of fish, such as snapper, grouper, flounder and trigger fish around the reefs.

Snorkelers now mostly hunt shells and sand dollars and, if they’re lucky, catch glimpses of fleeting fish.

Keith Wilkins, Escambia’s deputy chief for neighborhood and community services, said Escambia County bed taxes would pay for the reefs.

An exact dollar amount has not been calculated, but reefs are not expensive, he said.

“A small reef is about $10,000,” he said. “These projects may be a little more.”

February 14th, 2010 | Author:

The Marine Sanctuary Committee is gearing up for a great 2010.   Grants are already being targeted with the submittal of one grant already and the planning for the Pensacola Bay Area Impact 100 Grant Submittal

Mandy Evers,  Marine Sanctuary Committee co-chair wrote and submitted a $5,000 grant to International Paper on behalf of the Marine Sanctuary Committee.   We expect to hear back from this grant within the next couple of months.

Meanwhile the committee is gearing up for another run at the $100,000 Impact 100 grant.  Last year we made it to the final two in the Environmental Category.  In 2010 we are hoping to build on that success and take the prize with this year’s efforts.

Stay tuned ….. 2010 is looking promissing for the Marine Sanctuary thus far.

October 18th, 2009 | Author:

Fundraising:

Run for the Reef 5K

Our inaugural event was a huge success and we grossed as much as $8,000 and netted as much as $5,000. Still waiting on word if there are any more registration monies to be collected from the Active.com on line registration system. This was not only a financial success but everyone involved seemed genuinely pleased that it went off without a hitch and we had over 300 participants. Including all the participant, volunteer and sponsor shirts distributed, we have 400 Run for the Reef T-shirts out there circulating to remind folks of the program. Thanks to all the sponsors, volunteers, race committee members and most importantly participants that helped to make it a success.

Impact100 Grant

As you may know we were selected as one of two finalist in the Environmental category for the 2009 Pensacola Bay Area Impact 100 grant of $102,800. Approximately 250 Impact 100 members voted by absentee ballot prior to the final presentations (based on what they had read in the entire grant application or grant summaries they were provided). The other 250 members voted at the annual meeting (held October 18th in Pensacola) after hearing final presentations by each finalist. While we were not awarded the grant, we ;learned quite a lot about the grant process and are encouraged to try again next year since our first outing allowed us to get all the way to the final two. Thanks to all who helped with the grant throughout the grant process.

Memorial Reef Naming Program

Recently we have discussed a plan that would allow individuals or businesses to purchase naming rights for one or more individual gulf or sound side reefs. We would then place some type of memorial at the park with a graphic depicting the location of each donor’s reef. We need to start planning for this. Things that need to be worked out include a pricing structure for the naming rights, how to work with the county on the size, location and type of memorial that we might be allowed to be erected, and how best to market the effort.

Permitting:

We now have our State of Florida DEP permits and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineer Federal Permits have been published for comment, which is the first phase of the approval process. Our Environmental Consultant will receive and respond to any requests for additional information as the federal permit approval process continues.

Community Awareness:

The past couple of months we made many appearances at local civic organizations and set up and informational booth or table at a few events. We are looking for more opportunities to do this and need some enthusiastic committee members to step forward to both schedule/coordinate these opportunities and to help by manning a booth or table or presenting our (now fairly standardized) presentation. Opportunities to present our information in front of groups that typically have speakers and lunch meetings is a great way to keep our message out in public circulation and generate the type of community awareness and good will we need to keep the project moving forward.

Next Meeting:

Next monthly meeting – Tuesday, October 27th at 6:30 PM- Navarre Visitor Center Conference Room (enter through rear sound side door please).
At the meeting we will review and document lessons learned for both the Run for the Reef and the Impact 100 Grant and discuss the memorial reef naming plan. As always the public is welcome and encouraged to attend.