~ Grants to help communities restore and enhance coastal resources during difficult economic times ~
TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been awarded annual cooperative grant funds of $2.65 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to continue and enhance protection of Florida’s coastal resources. The grant funds will support several state priorities such as: restoring seagrasses; developing a derelict vessel management program and a database of geo-referenced shoreline trends; improving the state’s understanding of storm surge impacts on aquifers; and developing plans for post-disaster redevelopment and response to harmful algal blooms.
“The federal grant funding helps underwrite Florida’s commitment to restore marine habitat and safeguard vital coastal areas,” said Sally Mann, DEP’s Director of Intergovernmental Programs. “Working with our federal and state partners, local governments and nonprofit organizations, DEP continues to protect the sandy beaches and coastal communities for residents and visitors alike.”
Seven coastal communities and six non-profit groups will receive a portion of the grant to:
- Improve access to public lands;
- Restore coastal habitats;
- Revitalize waterfront areas;
- Develop watershed master plans;
- Promote stewardship of seagrasses and sea turtles;
- Conduct a cultural resource survey; and
- Produce a paddling trail map.
The following local governments will receive the grant funds: Apalachicola, Palm Coast, Bagdad, St. Marks, Palm Bay, Dunedin and Palm Beach County. In September, communities may apply for grant funds for fiscal year 2010-11. The grant proposal solicitation will be published in the Florida Administrative Weekly and posted on the Florida Coastal Management grants webpage at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/cmp/grants/index.htm.
DEP’s Florida Coastal Management Program administers the annual grant from NOAA. The program includes a network of agencies that protect and enhance the state’s natural, cultural and economic coastal resources and helps sustain viable waterfront communities. The program coordinates local, state and federal agency activities using existing laws to ensure Florida’s coast remains a valuable resource for future generations. The program also provides coastal communities with beach access signs, safety/warning flags and rip current awareness signs.
For more information on the Florida Coastal Management Program and local grant funding opportunities, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/mainpage/programs/cmp.htm.