Santa Rosa County will begin accepting proposals for projects to be included in the county’s RESTORE Multi-Year Implementation Plan on Monday, Jan. 12. Approximately $4.3 million is available to Santa Rosa County in the first dollars offered through the RESTORE Act. This initial release of funding is a small part of an estimated $20-75 million Santa Rosa County is expected to receive once litigation and Clean Water Act fines against BP are finalized. The complete request for proposals, with submittal criteria, guidance, and milestones, are available online at www.santarosa.fl.gov/bocc/restore.cfm.
The RESTORE Act requires Santa Rosa County to create a multi-year implementation plan that is submitted to the U.S. Treasury Department for review and approval. Projects included in the plan must address one or more of the RESTORE Act eligible activities:
- Restoration and protection of natural resources
- Mitigation of damage to natural resources
- Implementation of a federally approved marine or coastal management plan
- Workforce development and job creation
- Improving state parks affected by the spill
- Infrastructure projects benefitting the economy or ecological resources
- Flood protection and infrastructure
- Promotion of tourism
- Promotion of Gulf seafood consumption
Additionally, all projects submitted to Santa Rosa for funding must be located within Santa Rosa County or adjacent waters, may not be funded fully by another source, and must have a recognizable public benefit.
RESTORE Council Commission Designee and District 5 Commissioner Lane Lynchard comments on this first phase of funding, “This marks an important step in the recovery of Santa Rosa County from the effects of the largest oil spill in U.S. history. We will develop our initial implementation plan based on the projects submitted for this first round of RESTORE funding. When we look back on RESTORE years from now, it should be a story of environmental and economic success. This is a unique opportunity to select projects that will have a legacy impact on Santa Rosa County.”
The preferred method for project submittals is online in PDF format at www.santarosa.fl.gov/bocc/restore.cfm. Proposals will be accepted beginning Monday, Jan. 12 and must be received no later than 4 p.m., Friday, March 13. Organizations with multiple projects should submit each project separately. A pre-application workshop is scheduled during the Local RESTORE Council meeting Monday, Feb. 9 at 3 p.m. Interested applicants are welcome to attend and ask questions about the proposal process. Questions or issues with loading applications can be emailed to RESTORE@santarosa.fl.gov or contact Sheila Harris at (850) 983-1848.
All project applications will be ranked by a technical team and reviewed by the Santa Rosa County Local RESTORE Council who will develop the plan to present to the board of county commissioners. The commission will have final approval of the plan. Once developed and approved by the commission, there is a 45-day public comment period before the plan is forwarded to the U.S. Treasury Department for final acceptance.
The funding for the county’s multi-year plan, called the direct component, is just one of the many sources of funding associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill (click here to see flow chart of oil spill funds in Florida). The direct component sets aside 35 percent of the penalties paid into the Trust Fund for eligible activities proposed by the States of Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana and 20 Louisiana parishes, and 23 Florida counties. The RESTORE Act, which became law on July 5, 2012, diverts 80 percent of any civil and administrative Clean Water Act penalties collected as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the Gulf coast for ecological and economic restoration.
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