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CONTACT: Dee Ann Miller, (850) 245-2112 or (850) 519-2898
  Shawn Hamilton, (850) 595-8300 Ext. 1180

DEP Celebrates Earth Day with Restoration Project

-- DEP Partners with Navy to restore sensitive shoreline habitat--

PANAMA CITY BEACH ? The Florida Department of Environmental Protection?s (DEP) Northwest District today participated in the start of a multi-site habitat restoration and stabilization project with the help of local volunteers coordinated by Naval Support Activity (NSA) Panama City. The project, located at NSA Panama City, will involve the installation of a Living Shoreline along 3400 feet of the base?s St. Andrew Bay shoreline.

?The NSA Living Shoreline Project will provide members of the public, military and other support organizations a unique opportunity to contribute to the restoration of this environmentally important resource? said DEP Northwest District Director Ken Prest. ?Efforts such as this serve as an example of how public and private partnerships can work together to restore, protect, and preserve Florida?s natural resources for future generations.?

Coastal salt marshes are regarded as one of the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world. Salt marshes help to protect our shorelines from erosion, provide a nursery and feeding grounds for approximately 70 percent of Florida?s commercially valuable fish and shellfish fisheries and improve water quality by filtering excess nutrients and pollutants. Salt marshes in Northwest Florida were abundant in the past but due to severe storms and adverse human influences have consistently degraded over time.

The project will involve installing more than 25,000 salt marsh grasses along the shoreline and the construction of 193 oyster reefs to provide oyster and fish habitat. It will also provide the shoreline with maximum protection from damaging wave energy, allowing the upland and developing vegetation to become established. The entire project is scheduled to take place from April through November of 2010 via several volunteer supported events. Once completed the project will provide stabilization of the shoreline in an effort to prevent further erosion and reestablish much needed coastal marine habitat.

Funding for the project is the result of a grant obtained by DEP Northwest District?s Eco-Restoration Section from the Fish America Foundation, American Sportsfishing Association, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Restoration Center on behalf of NSA Panama City. Additional support was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Since 1994, the Ecosystem Restoration Section of DEP?s Northwest District has been working to restore coastal habitats throughout the Florida panhandle by creating, restoring and enhancing coastal dune systems, oyster reefs, salt marsh, and submerged aquatic vegetation. For more information, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/northwest/Ecosys/section/restoration.htm.

For more information on volunteer opportunities please contact Amy Baldwin at 850-595-8300 or amy.baldwin@dep.state.fl.us.

Volunteers planting seagrass

"The NSA Living Shoreline Project will provide members of the public, military and other support organizations a unique opportunity to contribute to the restoration of this environmentally important resource."

Ken Prest
DEP Northwest District Director



Last updated: April 23, 2010

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