Estuary Program - St. Andrew / St. Joe Bays

Program Funding & Modeling

The Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Council (Gulf RESTORE Council) will provide funds to develop and stand-up one place-based estuary program in northwest Florida. Modeled after the National Estuary Program, it will be a locally-driven effort to manage an estuary and its watershed.

Estuaries Eligible

Four estuaries will be eligible to compete for funding through a Request for Proposal (RFP) (PDF) process: Perdido/Pensacola/Escambia Bays, Choctawhatchee Bay, St. Andrew/St. Joe Bays, and Apalachicola Bay.

The program is designed to be a locally-driven effort to identify and solve the problems facing a bay and watershed, based on objective, scientific information. The program provides stakeholders with a permanent forum to come together to review information, agree on the problems, and work together to find solutions and funding to address those problems.

Staffing

If successful, the grant will provide approximately $2 million over five years to stand-up the program: hire staff, establish a permanent forum for stakeholders, and develop a comprehensive plan for the watershed/estuary. Staffing will likely include the program director, head scientist, outreach coordinator, grant writer/scientist, and administrative support.

Hosts, Groups & Subgroups

The Florida State University, Panama City campus, has offered to serve as host organization and will provide administrative and financial management support for the estuary program, along with initial program organizational support. A management group consisting of stakeholders will be established to direct the operations of the estuary program. A subgroup, made up of top officials from key local, federal, and state resource or decision-making organizations, will be the decision-making body. Links to a one-page program description and a more detailed document are below.

Request for Proposals

The response to the Request for Proposals is due August 1, 2017. To be competitive, a broad spectrum of our community must demonstrate strong support for the program. The St. Andrew/St. Joe Bays system is central to our economy, our identity, and our way of life. Unlike other panhandle watersheds, the entire St. Andrew/St. Joe watershed is in Florida. Two-thirds of our watershed is in Bay County. We control the future of our bay.