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Friday April 18th 2014

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The ‘Make Us Whole’ Boat Ramps

How will we be ‘made whole’ following the 2010 oil spill? For starters, how about some boat ramps for $4.4 million?

Over the next few weeks, the Gulf Coast public is being asked to weigh in on potential restoration projects laid out in the Deepwater Horizon Draft Phase I Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment. The second meeting in the series of community gatherings was held at the University of West Florida last night.

“It’s a beginning point,” said Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson, following the evening’s presentation. “This is a first step, this isn’t the only part.”
The early restoration plan includes eight different projects. The two projects in Florida are both in Escambia County.

In addition to building two new boat ramps and improving two others (around $4.4 million), there is also dune restoration planned for Pensacola Beach at an estimated cost of nearly $600,000.

The projects were selected through a process that began locally and continued to the state level before NRDA Trustees and BP officials signed off on individual projects. The eight projects making the cut are being considered for the initial restoration phase.

As per NRDA criteria, projects must offset damage caused by the 2010 oil spill. The projects may be environmentally geared, or directed toward improving the quality of human-use of local waterways (as that use suffered due to the spill).

The Escambia boat ramp projects fall under human-use. The ramps—and ramp expansions—are planned for Mahogany Mill, Navy Point Park, Galvez Landing and Perdido Bay.

Public comments gathered at the community meetings will be factored in to final decisions regarding this first-round of projects. For more information visit gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov.