Last night I was at another meeting on restoration of the gulf of mexico in Pensacola, FL.
As plans continue for use of Early Restoration Funds, it again became obvious that the time for completion of projects is years away. Public comments were accepted, on the criteria for project selection. The attendance was good however the input from the public seemed to be more from County officials and organizations.
Every comment seemed to echo the need to get projects underway. Several commented on. The need to streamline the project permitting process. Ideas included, getting started on oyster restoration, since that is a proven process for improving water quality. Tampa Bay, and Chesapeake Bay’s ReefBall, oyster reefs were cited as reasons to expedite permitting of similar reef deployments across the Gulf States.
The Wildlife Federation suggested projects that actually restore the environment should take precedence over building boardwalks and other thing that would put more stress on the fish instead of building more habitat for the marine environment. The idea was supported by others.
In this process I have seen many communities identify, storm water runoff, and sewage treatment, high not there list of importance. I’m glad to see in this process that local governments have realized their communities are having a tremendous effect on the health of the gulf. I think its time for each community to take on their responsibility for the decline in the health of the Gulf of mexico. I personally feel, Restoration Act money should be used for environmental projects not for infrastructure improvement. That does not mean the infrastructures portion is not a major factor, I just feel it needs to be addresses by the ones creating the problem.