Marine Advisory Committee
February 7, 2012
The Marine Advisory Committee met on the above date with the following members present: Jeff Marker, Rick Harris and Scott Mason. Also present were the County Administrator, Hunter Walker; Public Works Director, Avis Whitfield; Marine Extension Agent, Chris Verlinda; and County Engineer, Roger Blaylock. Jeff Marker called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.
The minutes of the December 6, 2011 meeting were approved.
NATURAL RESOURCES DAMAGE ASSESSMENT (NRDA) PROCESS/PROJECT UPDATE
Shelia Harris, Grants and Special Projects Coordinator, presented a summary and timeline recap for the NRDA process (see attached).
Mr. Walker noted that the NRDA process is an oil spill derivative made up of trustees of the five states that were impacted by the oil spill. This is a process that has to go through the trustees. DEP is the lead agency in the state. Ms. Drew, with DEP, is our trustee on this Board of Trustees made up from each of the five states and BP. It has been an extremely convoluted process. BP has some kind of sign off on these projects. Our projects are the kind that people can use. Our damage was to tourism and economic development and perception, such as the oiled pelican that ran in the news for seemingly months. We are encouraged that the sanctuary and both reefs are included on the list especially since they are permitted and easily doable. We have been very involved and are working with the State. Commissioner Lynchard has been the “key” and working with the coalition on some of the RESTORE Act issues that we are going through. We get a lot of talk from BP about how they are here for us and helping us work through this but we haven’t seen a check.
Mark Griffith of Navarre gave a brief update on the Marine Sanctuary. He noted that he met with Roger Blaylock last week and the contractor (Walter Marine). The DEP permits have been received for the Gulf side and should be approved for the sound side soon. Does not know when the Federal permits will be received. He hopes to get something before the BOCC for funding of the gulf side by their February 20th meeting. The project can be split and the gulf side is the least costly. He requested that two projects that he submitted personally be added to the County’s NRDA project list. One project was a nearside reef project and the other is for two dune walkover projects. Shelia Harris said that the reef project has been submitted. Mr. Walker said that the other project will need to be reviewed.
Mr. Walker asked if the Marine Sanctuary Committee had considered waiting on funding from NRDA. Mr. Griffith replied that he thought that funding would be more appropriate for the sound side project and would like to move forward with the less costly gulf side project.
PROJECTS / ISSUES UPDATE
Avis Whitfield presented some photos of the completed project of the newly constructed fishing dock at the oyster pile boat ramp (see attached). He also presented photos of the fishing dock under construction at the Archie Glover boat ramp and said that the second dock at this location will be started shortly.
Mr. Marker asked about the status of the oyster pile reef project started by DEP between White Point and Garcon Point. Ms. Verlinde said that it is a continuing project and will likely continue for at least another year.
Mr. Marker asked Ms. Verlinde about grant applications and where she is in the process. Ms. Verlinde said that the applications improve every year and she will be happy to submit the applications again this year. Mr. Marker made a motion to request the Board approve funding the grant application. The motion was seconded by Rick Harris and approved without objection.
Mr. Walker noted that Robet Turpin called him about clearing the log jam on Escambia River. Escambia County has a proposal to remove the log jam but they are having some permitting issues. DEP was going to make them leave 20 or 25 foot of shore on each side of the logs which means it will not take long before it is clogged back up. That stopped the work by Escambia County but they are working back through the process to get the permits to clear the entire jam. The Santa Rosa County Commission has approved $40,000 to match our portion to clear the log jam if it can move forward through the permitting process.
Rick Harris asked if anyone knew about the possibility of using the debris from the DOT bridge replacements at White’s bridge and Bass Hole bridge as reef material. Roger Blaylock said he would contact DEP. Mr. Harris said the County may have to fund it.
Roger Blaylock said the permit has been approved by DEP for the Sandy Landing (Chumuckla/Mineral Springs) boat ramp but we are still waiting for the Army Corp of Engineers permit.
Shelia Harris noted the FBIP cycle will be April 9th through June 8th. Previous projects that might be considered for application are Sandy Landing if not completed or Live Oak. We need to look at potential projects by April.
Jeff Marker noted that the current Boat Registration Fees are $246,271.
No other business.
NEXT MEETING DATE
The next meeting is scheduled for March 6, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.
There being no further business to come before the Committee at this time, the meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.