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.