Over $50 Million Recommended For Watersheds

The Pensacola & Perdido Bays Estuary Program (PPBEP) is pleased to announce that the Deepwater Horizon NRDA Florida Trustee Implementation Group (FL TIG) Draft Restoration Plan 3 and Environmental Assessment was released on March 8th and recommended allocating $111 million for 11 projects across the state. Over half of the proposed projects are in the Pensacola and Perdido Bay Watersheds, with six projects totaling over $50 million.

The six projects recommended for funding include:

  • WQ1, Pensacola and Perdido Watersheds Microbial Source Tracking (Planning) | $3,001,000
  • WQ2, Pensacola Bay Unpaved Roads Initiative Phase 2 (Planning)| $527,000
  • WQ3, Carpenter Creek Hydrologic Restoration and Stormwater Improvements | $6,300,000
  • WQ4, Hollice T. Williams Stormwater Park | $5,450,000
  • WQ5, Gulf Breeze Septic to Sewer Conversion | $12,830,000
  • WQ6, Santa Rosa County Septic to Sewer Conversion | $22,797,000

These six proposed projects aim to improve water quality by:

  • Identifying sources of bacterial and nutrient pollution
  • Reducing nutrient loading from septic tanks
  • Investing in critical stormwater infrastructure improvements that can capture runoff and pollutants, metals, and sediments, and reduce nutrient loading
  • Completing design and permitting for unpaved roads that cause significant erosion and sediment loading


WQ1, Pensacola and Perdido Watersheds Microbial Source Tracking (Planning) | $3,001,000

  • Project Partners: Emerald Coast Utilities Authority, Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties, and the City of Pensacola
  • Summary: This project would collect information needed to identify sources of bacterial pollution and prioritize water quality restoration strategies and activities in nine sub-watersheds that have either been verified as impaired by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) or have recurring bacterial issues that have restricted shellfish harvesting.
  • Bacterial Monitoring Locations: Blackwater River, Blackwater Bay, Garcon Point, Elevenmile Creek, Carpenter Creek, Bayou Texar, Bayou Marcus, Bruce Beach, and Bayou Chico watersheds.
  • Nutrient Monitoring Locations: Bayou Marcus, Elevenmile Creek, Carpenter Creek, and Bayou Chico watersheds.

PPBEP Subaward (Santa Rosa County led):

WQ6, Santa Rosa County Septic to Sewer Conversion| $22,797,000

  • Project Partners: Pace Water System, the Gulf Breeze Regional Water System, the Holley Navarre Water System, and the Town of Jay
  • Summary: The project would improve water quality in the Pensacola Bay watershed by connecting homes in Santa Rosa County, currently served by septic systems, to a central wastewater treatment system. Restoration activities would include:
    • Analysis of existing data and prioritization of conversion areas and
    • Decommissioning of up to 900 residential septic tanks and replacement with connections to municipal sewage systems
  • PPBEP Role: Coordinate with Santa Rosa County to conduct water quality monitoring to evaluate program effectiveness and develop a septic to sewer outreach campaign

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the largest maritime oil spill in U.S. history. It resulted in the discharge of millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Under the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), each party responsible for a vessel or facility from which oil is discharged, or which poses the substantial threat of a discharge, is liable for, among other things, removal costs and damages for injury to, destruction of, loss, or loss of use of natural resources, including the reasonable cost of assessing the damage. Pursuant to OPA, federal and state natural resource trustees, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and trustee agencies from the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, were charged with assessing and restoring for injuries to affected Gulf resources.

Under a global settlement reached on April 4, 2016, the Trustees released the Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PDARP/PEIS). The settlement agreement includes a funding schedule that will extend through 2031. During this timeframe the trustees will provide many opportunities for public participation, including the opportunity to submit project ideas and proposals and to comment on draft restoration plans.

Consistent with the PDARP/PEIS, the Florida Trustee Implementation Group has prepared a Draft Restoration Plan 3 and Environmental Assessment. In the Draft Plan, the Florida TIG analyzed a reasonable range of thirteen project alternatives and, pursuant to the NEPA, a no action alternative. Two of the alternatives analyzed are not preferred by the Trustee Implementation Group. The total estimated cost to implement the eleven preferred alternatives is approximately $111.5 million. Funding to implement any of the alternatives ultimately selected by the Florida Trustee Implementation Group would come from the Water Quality Restoration Type Allocation.

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