The City of Destin was notified today that it will receive approximately $3.6 million in grant funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for stormwater improvements.
“This is great news for our residents and our environment,” said City Manager Greg Kisela. “I applaud the mayor, council and city staff for making this possible!”
City staff submitted the grant application this past summer with a goal to enhance, maintain and restore the ecological integrity of Choctawhatchee Bay, Joe’s Bayou, Indian Bayou and Destin Harbor through the accelerated implementation of the final six projects identified in the city’s 2004 Master Stormwater Management Plan.
The implementation of these projects will result in greatly improved benthic (water bottom) habitat quality, increased biological diversity and productivity, and improved water quality to assist seagrass recovery in the bay. The proposed construction will also create trash/debris collection points, remove invasive species to protect the surrounding wetlands, and provide seagrass monitoring.
The six project sites funded for survey, engineering, design, permitting, construction, construction administration and inspection are: Indian Bayou, Sandalwood Drive, Spring Street and Whippoorwill Avenue, Juanita Avenue and Snapper Drive, Maltezos Street, and Calhoun Avenue.
This grant is part of a larger movement by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that includes nearly $100 million in grant funding from its Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (Gulf Fund) to 25 projects in the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. The projects, developed in consultation with state and federal resource agencies, are designed to remedy harm and reduce the risk of future harm to natural resources that were affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Of the funds awarded, $34.3 million will go to nine conservation projects in Florida, with Destin and Niceville being the only two municipalities in the state to receive grants. The remaining seven grants were awarded to federal, state and local organizations.
The next step in the process includes working with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to determine a funding schedule. Once that is established, the city will begin the design phase of the projects.