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The RESTORE Act and Bay County, Florida

UPDATE August 28, 2017

The Bay County RESTORE Act Direct Component Multi-Year Implementation Plan (Pot 1 plan) was accepted in May by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Since then, County RESTORE staff have been working with project proposers to prepare grant applications for each of the projects.

The plan includes nine projects vetted by a citizens advisory committee and selected by the Bay County Board of Commissioners (BoCC). The list and map of Treasury-accepted projects, project descriptions and Treasury's acceptance letter are at http://tinyurl.com/BayPot1MYIPprojsMapsDescripLtr. This document, the text of the county's plan, and related information can be downloaded from Bay County's RESTORE Act documents page, http://tinyurl.com/BayRESTOREdocs. Go to the third column under "Information", and "20170510" in the second column. An online map of the projects is available at https://tinyurl.com/BayRESTOREprojectsMap.

The St. Andrew/St. Joe Bays watershed was included in one of three responses to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (RESTORE Council) Request for Proposals to establish an Estuary Program in northwest Florida (http://tinyurl.com/EstProgRFPNWFL). Florida State University Panama City offered to host the St. Andrew/St. Joe Estuary Program and prepared the proposal. The Bay County Board of County Commissioners pledged 10% of future RESTORE Act Direct Component funds for the sustainability of the program. Numerous local municipalities and organizations passed resolutions in support of the proposal. The evaluation of the proposals is expected in September. Additional information is provided on Bay County's Estuary Program web page, http://baycountyfl.gov/restore/estuary-prog/index.php.

Triumph Gulf Coast is moving rapidly to prepare its application form and evaluation process. Workshops are planned August 30, 31 and the full board will meet on September 13. Established for the benefit of the eight Florida Gulf coastal counties from Escambia to Wakulla, Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. is the most significant Deepwater Horizon-related funding source for economic projects for the area. Triumph will provide more than six times as much money to the eight-county area as these counties will receive in RESTORE Act Direct Component funds/Pot 1. Additional information is available on the Triumph website.

Background

The RESTORE Act was created to help the Gulf of Mexico's environment and economy recover from the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and other harmful influences. Signed into law in July 2012, the RESTORE Act (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act) dedicates 80 percent of all Clean Water Act administrative and civil penalties related to the Deepwater Horizon spill to a Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund.

Bay County will receive approximately $42 million through the RESTORE Act over about 17 years. The funds are from federal settlements with Deepwater Horizon entities BP, Transocean and Anadarko.

On January 21, 2014, the Bay County Board of County Commissioners approved Resolution 3207 that established the nine-member RESTORE Act Advisory Committee. The Committee drafted a Multi-Year Implementation Plan with criteria to guide the Committee in selecting projects for funding with RESTORE Act funds. After approval of the Board of County Commissioners, the Committee solicited project nominations and public comment. The Committee received and reviewed 47 pre-proposals and approved 22 to advance to the proposal stage through an open, public process. The Committee recommended 14 proposals to the BoCC. The BoCC added a proposal and opened the draft plan and projects for public input. On October 4, 2016, the BoCC approved the Multi-Year Implementation Plan and nine projects and transmitted the plan to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Members of the Bay County RESTORE Act Advisory Committee are:

  • Becca Hardin, representing Bay County Economic Development Alliance
  • Wayne Stubbs, representing Port Panama City
  • Kim Bodine, representing the CareerSource Gulf Coast
  • Dean Dr. Randy Hanna, representing Florida State University Panama City
  • Melissa Thompson, nominated by Comm. Tommy Hamm, District 1
  • Adam Albritton, nominated by Comm. Robert Carroll, District 2
  • Brandon Aldridge, nominated by Comm. William T. Dozier, District 3
  • W.C. Harlow, nominated by Chairman Guy M. Tunnell, District 4
  • Jack Bishop, nominated by Comm. Philip Griffitts, District 5

If you are interested in receiving an occasional email on Bay County RESTORE Act information, contact Jim Muller, Bay County RESTORE Act Coordinator jmuller@baycountyfl.gov and include "Subscribe" in the subject line. Please note that Florida has a very broad Public Records Law and your email communications may therefore be subject to public disclosure.

An Overview of the RESTORE Act


The Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund, established by the RESTORE Act, has five "pots" of money to restore and protect the natural resources, ecosystems, fisheries, marine and wildlife habitats, beaches, coastal wetlands, and economy of the Gulf Coast region.

RESTORE Act
Courtesy of Environmental Law Institute

Pot 1, the Equal-Share State Allocation or Direct Component - Bay County receives a portion

All Florida Gulf coastal counties will receive a portion of Pot 1, also known as the Equal-Share State Allocation or the Direct Component (35% of the RESTORE fund, 7% to each state). Bay County will receive 11.3% of Florida's Pot 1. This equals 0.79% of the entire amount of the RESTORE funds. These funds can be used for restoration and protection of natural resources, mitigation of damage to fish and wildlife, and workforce development and job creation. Bay County must prepare a Multi-Year Implementation Plan before receiving funds.

Pot 2, Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council

Pot 2 (30%) is controlled by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council. Projects to be considered for funding must be nominated by a governor of one of the five Gulf States or one of the six federal entities on the Council. These funds will focus on environmental projects with guidance from the Council's Comprehensive Plan.

Pot 3, Impact-Based State Allocations or Spill Impact Component - Florida Gulf Consortium

Bay County is a member of the intergovernmental group known as the Florida Gulf Coastal Counties Consortium. The Gulf Consortium will plan how to spend Florida's $293 million share of Pot 3 funds, the Spill Impact Component (30% of RESTORE funds). Funds can be used on the same types of projects as for Pot 1.

Pots 4 and 5, NOAA Gulf Restoration Science Program and State Centers of Excellence

Pots 4 and 5 (2.5% each) will be used for research and monitoring. More information on the allocation and allowed uses of RESTORE funds can be found Here.

Other Gulf Restoration Funding Sources


Other sources of Gulf restoration funds are available in addition to RESTORE. Generally, these sources focus on environmental restoration or the public's recreational access to Gulf resources.

Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Early Restoration

The Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) Early Restoration program will fund about $1 billion on natural resource damages and human use of resources. At least $100 million of these funds will be spent on Florida projects.

Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) will spend about $356 million from the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund over five years in Florida on resources affected by the oil spill. State agencies, especially the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, will advise.

Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc.

Established for the benefit of the eight Florida Gulf coastal counties from Escambia to Wakulla, Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc. is the most significant Deepwater Horizon-related funding source for economic projects for the area. Triumph will provide more than six times as much money to the eight-county area as these counties will receive in RESTORE Act Direct Component funds/Pot 1. Additional information is available on the Triumph website.

Additional Information

Additional information on RESTORE and other Gulf restoration funds and how Bay County may be affected can be found on the RESTORE Details page.

For additional information, contact Jim Muller, Bay County RESTORE Act Coordinator jmuller@baycountyfl.gov




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