$3 million in county recreational projects closer to funding

Published: Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 09:54 AM.

In Mexico Beach, $1.6 million was appropriated to widen the Canal Park Boat Ramp and complete several improvements to the Mexico Beach Marina, including the replacement of 18 finger piers, the existing retaining wall and the boardwalk dock.

A proposed $5.37 million “oyster clutch” placement project would place material to support oyster colonization in St. Andrew Bay, Apalachicola Bay and Pensacola Bay.

A $2.69 million seagrass recovery project would restore habitats primarily in Gulf County’s St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve, but also in Alligator Harbor Aquatic Preserve in Franklin County and Bay County’s St. Andrews Aquatic Preserve.

The project would begin with a survey and mapping of seagrass scarring in the aquatic preserves. Next would be placement of sediment tubes across two acres of seagrass propeller scars and finally the placement of bird stakes in the project area to facilitate restoration.

Area signage, buoys where necessary, boater outreach and education and brochures about best practices for protecting seagrass habitats will also be part of the project.

The issue of seagrass health has been a hot topic in recent weeks among local officials and residents concerned about the future health of St. Joseph Bay.

The most costly regional project is an $11.46 million artificial reef creation and restoration project spanning from Bay County west to Escambia County.

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