3-3: Choctawhatchee Bay Estuary Program
DWH Project Funding
Known Leveraged Funding
Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council
The RESTORE Act Funds Bucket 3: Spill Impact Component
Choctawhatchee Bay is a critically important estuary to the economy, community, and way of life of Okaloosa County and neighboring counties as well. It provides fish and wildlife resources, including seagrass habitat, which supports numerous fish and invertebrate species. In addition, it is a popular place for recreational activities and tourism. Choctawhatchee Bay and several of its adjacent beaches are listed as impaired for nutrients and/or bacteria by the FDEP under section 303(d) of the Federal Clean Water Act. These impairments negatively impact the health of the Bay’s seagrasses and limit its recreational value. It is for these reasons that the Choctawhatchee Bay Estuary Program (CBEP) will be established: to protect this valuable natural resource. The objectives of this project are to establish the CBEP organization, to identify long-term funding sources to maintain the program in order to improve the coordinated restoration and management of the Choctawhatchee Bay Estuary. This project will largely support salary/fringe for a program director and outreach specialist who will work together to establish the CBEP.