The Pensacola Bay Living Shoreline Project has been awarded more than $217,000 in RESTORE grant funding from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. According to a statement from Escambia County, the funds will be used to support the first phase of planning, engineering, design and permitting of the environmental restoration project.
“Investing in projects like this are important to our coastal estuaries,” Drew Bartlett, DEP deputy secretary for ecosystem restoration, said in a statement. “In addition to providing natural shoreline protection, it also creates habitats necessary for the variety of wildlife in Pensacola Bay, and subsequently the industries that depend on them.”
Living shorelines address erosion by providing long-term protection, reducing wave energy and restoring vegetated shoreline habitats through strategic placement of plants, rock and oyster reefs.Living shorelines also stabilize sediment, improve water quality, and enhance habitats for oysters, fish, shrimp, crabs, birds, sea turtles and other estuarine species.
The Pensacola Bay Living Shoreline Project includes placing 24,800 linear feet of rock and oyster reef breakwater and planting 205 acres of emergent marsh and submerged aquatic vegetation habitat at three sites: one adjacent to White Island in northwestern Pensacola Bay, and the other two on the eastern and southern shores of Pensacola Naval Air Station.
This funding was received through the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council’s Funded Priorities List. The RESTORE Act, passed in 2012, provides a vehicle for Clean Water Act civil and administrative penalties from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to be distributed to affected Gulf Coast states.