PA Awards $2 Million to Establish Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program

ATLANTA – Today in Pensacola, Fla., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program awarded the Bay Area Resource Council (BARC) a $2 million cooperative agreement to establish the Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program. The project is the result of several years of collaboration and is the first Estuary Program in Northwest Florida.

 

“EPA is pleased to partner through our Gulf of Mexico Program with the Bay Area Resource Council to protect and restore the Pensacola and Perdido Bays,” said Trey Glenn, EPA Region 4 Administrator. “Together, we look forward to achieving sustainable environmental results through this initiative.”

 

The Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program is a non-regulatory program that will leverage and coordinate efforts among federal, state, and local agencies and the public to achieve publicly identified goals and objectives to restore and conserve the environment and the economy of Pensacola and Perdido Bays for generations to come. The establishment of this program is the result of years of collaborative effort by local governments, non-government organizations, and public requests for the creation of an estuary program in Northwest Florida.

 

“We are incredibly excited about this Estuary Program and what it will mean for our community’s environmental future. The Estuary Program will provide a roadmap for successful restoration of our estuaries,” said Grover Robinson, BARC Chairman and Escambia County Commissioner. “The Program will really be the culmination of decades of work by volunteers and BARC officials to repair and restore our local waterways. More importantly, the Program will set the standards for the future to protect our natural assets for generations to enjoy.” 

 

“This program will provide the first steps in restoring this vital natural resource back to a healthy condition,’ said Bob Cole, BARC member and Santa Rosa County Commissioner. “Our two county area is so very blessed to have such a diverse coastline from our streams to rivers, bays, and inter coastal waterways. We must grasp every opportunity to protect and restore for our children and all future generations.”

 

“Florida’s estuaries and coastal resources are among our state’s most cherished and important natural treasures,” said Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein. “Our staff works tirelessly to protect our estuaries and waterways, and we look forward to collaborating with the Estuary Program to continue to protect the natural resources of Northwest Florida.”

 

“The establishment of the first ever Estuary Program in Florida’s Panhandle will help to safeguard and restore our precious coastlines and watersheds, benefitting people, natural systems, and wildlife,” said Temperince Morgan, executive director, The Nature Conservancy in Florida. “We’re thrilled to play a role in the formation and implementation of this essential conservation solution.”

 

EPA sponsored the project in partnership with the state of Florida for inclusion on the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies (RESTORE) Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council’s Funding Priorities List (FPL).  More information regarding the RESTORE Council and the FPL: https://restorethegulf.gov.

 

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is funded by the EPA and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States.

 

More information about the Gulf of Mexico Program: https://www.epa.gov/gulfofmexico.

 

More information about the Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program: https://www.myescambia.com/estuaryprogram.