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Oil spill money to restore wildlife habitats

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The five projects spearheaded by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program cover hundreds of acres in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee counties.

ST. PETERSBURG – The Tampa Bay Estuary Program has been awarded $1.5 million to support projects with local government partners that will restore coastal habitats, improve stormwater quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The money comes by way of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, which administers a trust fund created with penalties from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as part of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act).

These funds will be used to implement five coastal restoration and climate resilience projects within the TBEP’s watershed boundary:

  • Tidal recirculation and seagrass recovery at Ft. DeSoto Park (Pinellas County)
  • Restoration expansion at Robinson Preserve (Manatee County)
  • Invasive plant removal at Cockroach Bay Nature Preserve (Hillsborough County)
  • Stormwater improvements at Copeland Park (city of Tampa)
  • Biosolids-to-energy facility development (city of St. Petersburg)

Local benefits include habitat restoration for approximately 650 acres of coastal wetlands, 14 acres of coastal uplands, and 2 acres of freshwater wetlands – improving their capacity to support native wildlife and provide ecosystem services such as flood mitigation and pollution reduction in the Tampa Bay estuary.

These RESTORE Act projects are consistent with TBEP’s mission to build partnerships to restore and protect Tampa Bay through the implementation of a scientifically sound, community-based management plan.