The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies, or RESTORE Act, established the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund to receive penalty dollars collected from responsible parties associated with the spill: British Petroleum, Anadarko, and Transocean. Monies from the fund will be used for programs, projects and activities that restore and protect the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast region.
Pot 1 - Direct Component
In August 2016 the Escambia County Board of County Commissioners voted to nominate two projects per commissioner to develop the county’s Multi-Year Implementation Plan, by selecting from the 124 projects submitted via the Escambia County Project Portal. The Multi-Year Implementation Plan is a document required by the RESTORE Act and the U.S. Department of Treasury, which prioritizes eligible activities for direct component, or “Pot 1,” funds.
Commissioners selected 10 projects totaling $8.64 million of the estimated $70.68 million available in Escambia County's allocation in the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Funds over 15 years. The approval comes after a three-year process of the RESTORE Advisory Committee reviewing and providing a framework for the process. The projects selected include:
- Carpenter Creek and Bayou Texar Revitalization Plan
- Project Universal Access
- Perdido Key Gulf of Mexico Public Access
- Perdido Key Multi-Use Path
- OLF8 Commerce Park Master Plan
- South Dogtrack Drainage Project
- Eleven Mile Creek Stream Restoration
- Eleven Mile Creek Basin Project
- Hollice T. Williams Stormwater Park
- SOAR with RESTORE
Escambia County, in accordance with the RESTORE Act, solicited broad-based participation from individuals, businesses, Indian tribes and nonprofit organizations during a 45-day public comment period from June 5 to July 19, 2017. A total of 349 comments were received. The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners reviewed public comments and on Sept. 7, 2017 authorized staff to submit the MYIP without modification to U.S. Department of Treasury.
Escambia County was notified Oct. 20, 2017 that the county's RESTORE Multi-Year Implementation Plan had been approved by the U.S. Department of Treasury, with the department finding the plan to be complete and conforming to RESTORE Act regulations. Treasury's acceptance of the MYIP is not a final determination for the projects, but the approval allows Escambia County to begin individual grant applications for the projects included in the MYIP. It is anticipated that final adoption of grant awards will occur in early 2018, with projects beginning shortly thereafter.
Pot 2 - Federal Component
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, or RESTORE Pot 2 funding, has awarded $6.16 million for three projects in Escambia County. Design has been funded for the Bayou Chico Contaminated Sediment Remediation project, which will identify the most appropriate means of remediating contaminated sediment in Bayou Chico. Design has also been funded for the Pensacola Bay Living Shoreline project to design 24,000 feet of oyster reef breakwater and 200 acres of aquatic habitat around Naval Air Station Pensacola. Construction has been funded for the Beach Haven project for septic to sewer and stormwater enhancements in the Beach Haven neighborhood to improve water quality of Jones Creek and Bayou Chico.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has selected a proposal by the Bay Area Resource Council and Escambia County to establish a new Estuary Program for Pensacola and Perdido Bays. The $2 million grant is funded through the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council as part of the RESTORE Act and will be hosted by Escambia County. The Estuary Program will guide the production of a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan that will be a fully vetted roadmap for achieving publicly identified outcomes and goals for Pensacola and Perdido Bays.
Pot 3 - Florida Component
The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners selected the Bayou Chico Contaminated Sediment Remediation Project as the single project to be funded through the Gulf Consortium, or Pot 3, funding. Over the next 15 years, $12.6 million will come to Escambia County for this project.