August 26, 2020
After approval by the Bay County Board of County Commissioners, the County submitted the Estuary Program amendment of the County’s RESTORE Act Direct Component (Pot 1) Multiyear Plan to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The amendment is to provide $720,000 to FSU to further support the St. Andrew/St. Joseph Bays Estuary Program (SASJBEP). Treasury is suggesting minor edits to the amendment, and then Bay County will prepare the grant application for these funds.
As host of the Estuary Program, FSU Panama City will use these funds to start the Estuary Program. Together with the $1 million grant from The Nature Conservancy, FSU Panama City will establish the program and prepare the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) for the St. Andrew/St. Joe bays watershed. The plan will align and build consensus on both conservation and economic priorities. Guided by the CCMP, the Estuary Program will implement projects to improve the bays, and continually monitor outcomes and adapt strategies to better manage the watershed. The FSU FCRC Consensus Center is coordinating preparation of the CCMP. FSU now has an Estuary Program web page at https://pc.fsu.edu/estuaryprogram.
Other RESTORE Act-funded projects approved by the Bay County Board of County Commissioners are progressing. Thanks again to the RESTORE Act Advisory Committee, who volunteered their time and expertise to evaluate and recommend projects to the Board. An online storyboard of Bay County RESTORE Act projects can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/BayRESTOREprojectstory.
Bay County Stormwater Master Plan Update – the update is being prepared, supervised by Bay County Public Works. The updated plan will guide actions to improve stormwater treatment, essential for the improvement and protection of our bays and the Gulf.
Porter Park Improvements – the performance and picnic pavilions and new restrooms are complete. Playground, parking and lighting improvements are in place. With the new boat ramps provided from other funding sources, Porter Park is a popular amenity in the City of Lynn Haven and a gateway to the bays and Gulf.
Carl Gray Park Boat Ramp – new boat ramps with docks are in place and open to the public, and the parking has been improved, using funds from the RESTORE Act and other funds provided through the City of Panama City. Access to the bays and Gulf is improved for residents and visitors.
AMIkids Panama City Marine Institute Dock – the old dock was removed and the new dock is nearly complete. The dock will be used to facilitate bay management and conservation activities.
Artificial Reef Construction and Monitoring – site selection and permitting are underway. The reefs will expand Bay County’s system of artificial reefs and contribute to the fishing enjoyment of residents and visitors.
East Pass Environmental Impact Statement and Inlet and Beach Management Plan – Bay County Public Works and Purchasing have issued a Request for Qualifications for preparation of these plans. The plans are required as part of the process to determine the feasibility of re-opening East Pass/the Old Pass.
St. Andrew Bay Watch - Water Quality Monitoring – Bay Watch water quality monitoring and reporting efforts are continued and expanded with RESTORE Act Pot 3 funds provided through the Bay County Board of County Commissioners. Information from this work will help guide priority actions to restore and protect our bay.
May 28, 2020
At its May 19, 2020 meeting, the Bay County Board of County Commissioners approved three items directly tied to the establishment of the St. Andrew/St. Joe Bays Estuary Program. The Board approved an agreement with The Nature Conservancy of Florida to accept almost $1 million over three years to support establishment of the Estuary Program and development and approval of a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the watershed.
The Board also approved an agreement to pass these funds through to the Florida State University. FSU Panama City will serve as host to the Estuary Program, providing a robust scientific and administrative infrastructure for the program. FSU’s FCRC Consensus Center will initiate the Estuary Program stakeholder engagement and management structure.
The Bay County Commissioners also approved a draft amendment to the County’s RESTORE Act Direct Component (Pot 1) Multiyear Plan to provide $720,000 to FSU to further support the Estuary Program and plan development. The Board initiated a 45-day public input period for the community to comment on the addition of the Estuary Program as a project in the Multiyear Plan. The Bay County Chamber of Commerce spoke in favor of the Estuary Program at the meeting.
The Commissioners also passed a resolution to Embrace the Gulf in 2020, recognizing the environmental, economic and cultural importance of the Gulf of Mexico. This recognition is an initiative of the Gulf of Mexico Alliance.
The draft amendment to the County’s RESTORE Plan can be downloaded at https://tinyurl.com/BayMYPamend2. The public is encouraged to provide comments on the draft amendment via email to RESTOREproposals@baycountyfl.gov, or mailing comments to RESTORE Act Direct Component, 840 W. 11th Street, Panama City, FL 32401.
If you would like to subscribe to Bay County’s RESTORE Act interested parties list, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line. If you would like to subscribe to Bay County’s Estuary Program email list, send an email to BayEstuaryProgram@baycountyfl.gov with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.
May 18, 2020
Bay County is proposing to amend its RESTORE Act Multiyear Plan to add a project for the St. Andrew/St. Joe Bays Estuary Program Project (SASJBEP) to establish the Estuary Program and to prepare and implement a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) for the watershed. The program will be modeled on National Estuary Programs.
An Estuary Program is a locally-driven, non-regulatory effort to identify and solve issues facing a bay and watershed, based on objective, scientific information. The program provides stakeholders with a permanent forum for reviewing information, agreeing on issues, and collaborating to develop action plans, solutions, and funding to address those issues. Florida State University-Panama City will host the Estuary Program.
The Bay County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) is holding a public hearing on the plan amendment and opening a 45-day public input period at its May 19 meeting. The BOCC meeting can be viewed at https://www.baycountyfl.gov/326/Meeting-Videos. The plan will then come back to the Board in a second public hearing forum. After the taking into account public comments, the Board will consider approving the amendment. If approved, the amendment will be submitted to Treasury for acceptance. After review and acceptance by Treasury, Bay County will prepare a grant application for the SASJBEP Project that reflects the amended plan. The draft amendment can be downloaded at https://tinyurl.com/BayMYPamend2
Comments on the draft amendment may be submitted by email to RESTOREproposals@baycountyfl.gov or may be mailed to: RESTORE Act Direct Component, County Manager’s Office, 840 W. 11th St., Panama City, FL 32401
A quick update on active Bay County RESTORE Act Direct Component (Pot 1) projects:
- Bay County has a firm under contract to complete the Bay County Stormwater Master Plan and Capital Improvement Strategic Plan Update.
- The Porter Park Improvements project in Lynn Haven is well underway.
- In Panama City, the Carl Gray Park Boat Ramp project construction is starting.
- The AMIkids PCMI Dock project has been bid and construction will start shortly.
- The permitting process for the Artificial Reefs project is underway.
- Grant awards for the East Pass Study project and the North Bay Wastewater Reuse project are expected within the next month or so.
Funded by the RESTORE Act Spill Impact Component (Pot 3) managed by the Gulf Consortium, the five-year project for St. Andrew Bay Watch to continue and augment its water quality monitoring and reporting efforts is underway. Information from this project and the Estuary Program will be used to recommend priorities for protection and restoration of our bay system and watershed
November 4, 2019
Concerned about algal blooms, rising sea level, and conservation and management of our coastal resources? Want to influence what we do about these issues? The Florida Ocean Alliance is working with stakeholders to prepare a strategic plan to help ensure that Florida’s coastal and ocean resources remain healthy and economically viable for future generations.
At the direction of the Florida Legislature and working closely with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Alliance is holding public workshops across Florida to hear from all interested stakeholders.
The first workshop, and the only one to be held in the Panhandle, will be November 5th from 6 to 8 PM Central Time at Gulf Coast State College, Student Union East (SUE) 232. Come learn about the issues we face, and help decide what we do about them. For more information on this and all the workshops, visit http://www.floridaoceanalliance.org/florida-ocean-alliance-strategic-plan-floridas-coasts-oceans/
As a reminder, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is hosting the Florida Deepwater Horizon Summit November14 at Fort Walton Beach. There is no registration fee. It will be a good opportunity for an overview of projects and initiatives and to network with those involved with Gulf restoration in Florida. Agenda and information at https://floridadep.gov/wra/deepwater-horizon/content/2019-deepwater-horizon-restoration-summit
The Summit will also serve as the annual meeting of the Florida Trustee Implementation Group of the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustees. https://www.gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov/restoration-areas/florida
Before the Summit, you might want to check out the Deepwater Horizon-Funded Project Story Map. https://fdep.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Shortlist/index.html?appid=d8198b64b53145539b68b044a7e7b813
And the Florida Gulf Consortium board will meet November 20in Fort Lauderdale. The board is made up of one representative from each of Florida’s 23 Gulf Coastal Counties plus six non-voting Governor’s appointees. The Consortium prepares Florida’s State Expenditure Plan for the RESTORE Act Spill Impact Component (Pot 3) funds. The Consortium is also responsible for managing Pot 3 grants for Florida. https://www.gulfconsortium.org/
August 23, 2019
Bay County has received grant awards for five of the projects included in its Multi-Year Plan for RESTORE Act Direct Component (Pot 1) projects. Work is underway by the City of Lynn Haven on the Porter Park Improvements project, and the City of Panama City will start the Carl Gray Park boat ramp improvements soon. The Panama City Marine Institute is soliciting bids to replace its dock used for bay restoration activities. Bay County will issue a Request for Qualifications soon for its stormwater master plan update. And the County is progressing on a new artificial reef project. A status table of Bay County’s Pot 1 projects can be downloaded.
The Florida Gulf coastal counties Consortium will meet at 2:00 pm CT September 25 at the newly-reopened Sheraton Panama City Beach Golf & Spa Resort. The meeting is open to the public, with opportunities for comments at the start and end of the meeting. The Gulf Consortium, made up of one representative from each Florida Gulf coastal county and six non-voting Governor appointees, is tasked by the RESTORE Act with preparing and implementing Florida’s State Expenditure Plan for the Oil Spill Impact Component, also known as Pot 3. The funds are from Deepwater Horizon disaster Clean Water Act fines. Meeting materials will be available at the Consortium web page https://www.gulfconsortium.org/.
The Consortium prepared the initial State Expenditure Plan, which was then approved by the Gulf RESTORE Council. Projects in the plan are phased over 15 years, the settlement payout time. A grant application must be submitted for each project in the plan. Bay County has submitted its first grant application, support for St. Andrew Bay Watch water quality monitoring and reporting. The Gulf RESTORE Council is reviewing the application.
Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. has made great progress awarding Deepwater Horizon economic damage settlement funds for the recovery, diversification, and enhancement of the eight Northwest Florida counties disproportionately affected by the oil spill. Sixteen grants have been awarded, including for three projects in Bay County. The Board also provided funds in response to Bay County’s request for assistance with Hurricane Michael’s projected impact on ad valorem tax receipts. The full list of grant awards is at https://www.myfloridatriumph.com/proposals/board-approved-grants/.
May 14, 2018
The Florida Gulf coastal counties Consortium will meet at 10:00 am CT, Thursday, May 17, at the Edgewater Beach & Golf Resort, 520 Richard Jackson Blvd., Panama City Beach. The meeting is open to the public, with opportunities for comments at the start and end of the meeting. The Gulf Consortium, made up of one representative from each Florida Gulf coastal county and six non-voting Governor appointees, is tasked by the RESTORE Act with preparing Florida’s State Expenditure Plan for the Oil Spill Impact Component, also known as Pot 3. The funds are from Deepwater Horizon disaster Clean Water Act fines.
The major item on the agenda is the Consortium Board approval of the draft final State Expenditure Plan, which outlines how Florida’s RESTORE Act Spill Impact Component funds will be spent. Florida’s allocation is $294 million, paid over a 15-year period. Approximately $12 million will be spent on projects in each of Florida’s 23 Gulf coastal counties. Public comment webinars and meetings regarding the plan were held earlier this year, including one in Panama City.
The Draft Final State Expenditure Plan is available electronically via the following links:
Appendix E https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/dde1f7_d1a7d883ed774af58424dc99d0b1bf9a.pdf (5 megs)
Additional information is available on the Consortium’s web page https://www.gulfconsortium.org/
March 21, 2018
On March 20th, the Bay County Board of County Commissioners approved an agreement between the County and Panama City Marine Institute (PCMI) to use RESTORE Act Direct Component funds to replace the dilapidated PCMI dock with a new dock. The dock is used by multiple nonprofit organizations and government agencies to access the St. Andrew Bay system for environmental restoration projects.
The project is one of nine projects in Bay County’s RESTORE Act Multi-Year Implementation Plan that was approved by the Board and accepted by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The County also received RESTORE funds to update the Bay County Stormwater Master Plan and Capital Improvement Strategic Plan. An agreement is being drafted between the County and the City of Panama City to use RESTORE funds to refurbish the Carl Gray Park boat ramp.
January 17, 2018
The Florida Gulf Counties Consortium will hold a public review meeting on the draft State Expenditure Plan at 6:30 pm CT on January 22, 2018, in the Bay County Commission Chambers. The Plan outlines how Florida’s RESTORE Act Spill Impact Component funds will be spent. The funds are from Deepwater Horizon disaster Clean Water Act fines.
Florida’s allocation is $294 million, paid over a 15-year period. Approximately $12 million will be spent on projects in each of Florida’s 23 coastal counties. The plan can be downloaded from https://www.gulfconsortium.org/draft-state-expenditure-plan (22 megs). Another public review meeting will be in Tampa on January 23. Two public review webinars will also be held on Feb. 1 and 15. The comment period ends March 2, 2018.
December 15, 2017
Bay County is proposing an amendment to its RESTORE Act Direct Component Multiyear Implementation Plan. The amendment only affects the Porter Park Improvements project, proposed by the City of Lynn Haven.
The major change is to the scope of this project. Pot 1 funds were proposed to fund a portion of an improvement plan for Porter Park. The City requested RESTORE Act funds to improve the existing ramp, install fixed staging docks and a floating dock, and to replace the failing seawall. The overall improvement plan as described also included facilities such as restrooms, pavilions, parking and playground equipment.
Because of the sequencing of the improvement project, the City made the improvements to the ramp, docks and seawall prior to Treasury approval of the grant application. The City would like to amend its RESTORE Act proposal to have the RESTORE Act funds contribute to the future costs of the restrooms, pavilions, parking and playground equipment rather than the improvements now in place. The amount of RESTORE funds allocated for the project will remain the same.
Because of the change to the project objectives, Treasury considers this a material modification to the Plan and requires an amendment to the Plan, including the opportunity for public comment on the amendment. The Bay County Board of County Commissioners will consider the draft amendment to the Multi-Year Implementation Plan for Bay County’s Direct Component of the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund (RESTORE Act “Pot 1”) at their December 19, 2017 meeting beginning at 9:00 a.m. A public hearing will be conducted during which the public will have an opportunity to comment. After the meeting, the public will have 45 days to comment on the draft Plan amendment. Comments may be submitted by email to RESTOREproposals@baycountyfl.gov or may be mailed to: RESTORE Act Direct Component, County Manager’s Office, 840 W. 11th St., Panama City, FL 32401.
An overview of the process and the proposed amendments are available at https://fl-baycounty.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/View/2275 and will also be available for viewing at the main Bay County Public Library.
December 1, 2017
The Gulf Consortium is a public entity that includes Florida’s 23 Gulf Coast counties, from Escambia County in the western panhandle of Florida to Monroe County on Florida’s southern tip. Florida’s 23 Gulf Coast Counties formed the Consortium to meet requirements of the RESTORE Act to develop a State Expenditure Plan for economic and environmental recovery of the Gulf coast in Florida following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The plan details how Florida’s portion of the RESTORE Act Oil Spill Impact Component, also known as Pot 3, will be spent....
Find the latest updates to Bay County’s reception of the RESTORE Act on our RESTORE Act Updates - Bay County.
Background - Response to Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster
The RESTORE Act was created to help the Gulf of Mexico's environment and economy recover from the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and other harmful influences. Signed into law in July 2012, the RESTORE Act (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act) dedicates 80% of all Clean Water Act administrative and civil penalties related to the Deepwater Horizon spill to a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund.
Funding Through Settlements
Bay County will receive approximately $42 million through the RESTORE Act over about 17 years. The funds are from federal settlements with Deepwater Horizon entities BP, Transocean and Anadarko.
Approved Steps & Proposals
On January 21, 2014, the Bay County Board of County Commissioners approved Resolution 3207 that established the nine-member RESTORE Act Advisory Committee. The Committee drafted a Multi-Year Implementation Plan with criteria to guide the Committee in selecting projects for funding with RESTORE Act funds. After approval of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), the Committee solicited project nominations and public comment. The Committee received and reviewed 47 pre-proposals and approved 22 to advance to the proposal stage through an open, public process. The Committee recommended 14 proposals to the BOCC. The BOCC added a proposal and opened the draft plan and projects for public input. On October 4, 2016, the BOCC approved the Multi-Year Implementation Plan and nine projects and transmitted the plan to the U.S Department of the Treasury.
Advisory Committee Preview
Members of the Bay County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee are:
- Becca Hardin, representing Bay County Economic Development Alliance
- Wayne Stubbs, representing Port Panama City
- Kim Bodine, representing the CareerSource Gulf Coast
- Dean Dr. Randy Hanna, representing Florida State University Panama City
- Melissa Thompson, nominated by Comm. Tommy Hamm, District 1
- Adam Albritton, nominated by Comm. Robert Carroll, District 2
- Brandon Aldridge, nominated by Comm. William T. Dozier, District 3
- WC. Harlow, nominated by Chairman Guy M. Tunnell, District 4
- Jack Bishop, nominated by Comm. Philip Griffitts, District 5
If you are interested in receiving an occasional email on Bay County RESTORE Act information, please email Jim Muller, the RESTORE Act Coordinator, and include "Subscribe" in the subject line. Please note that Florida has a very broad Public Records Law and your email communications may therefore be subject to public disclosure.