Approved Jan 6, 2015 - Marine Advisory Minutes
Marine Advisory Committee January 6, 2015 Milton, Florida
The Marine Advisory Committee met on above date with the following members present: Jeff Marker, Scot Mason and Scott Walker. Also present was the County Administrator, Hunter Walker; Chris Verlinde, Marine Extension Agent; Sheila Harris, Grants Coordinator, Roger Blaylock, County Engineer; and Avis Whitfield, Public Works Director. Chairman JeffMarker called the meeting to order at 5:00p.m.
The minutes ofthe November 4, 2014 meeting were approved.
RESTORE Act ·and Related Matters Update
Ms. Harris distributed the Request For Proposals (RFP) that the county recently released that announces the first round of direct component funds that the Local Restore Council will be reviewing. She stated that she wanted to make this committee aware of the RFP and also where on the county website that people can go for additional information.
Ms. Harris stated that associated with the Trans-Ocean settlement, Santa Rosa County's portion is approximately 4.4 million which is in the Treasury fund that we can draw down. The process for drawing down those funds involves selection of projects that have to be included in a multiyear implementation plan,· approved by the Local Restore Council, approved by the Board of County Commissioners, put out for public input and then further approved by the Treasury before any project specific grant funds can be requested. She added that on page 3 is a timeline of what we expect to occur associated with those funds so you can see by the end of 2015 we hope to have approval of the multiyear implementation plan by the Treasury. At that point, any projects that are included for funding in that plan can be requested from the Treasury and the project can then be implemented most likely in 2016.
Ms. Harris then reviewed the county website, explaining the various tabs where members that sit on the council are listed, location for reviewing past agendas/minutes, watching prior meetings, etc. She stated that on January 12th there will be a tab added where Restore proposals can be submitted. She said there is a sample proposal that the county put together that is very beneficial. She added that the scoring criteria is also listed and it is important that proposals clearly answer the questions. The group that will do the scoring will be looking to see if the proposal addresses the criteria and then scores accordingly. The deadline for submittals will be March 13th. This is just an initial round of funding for the first 4 million. She said that they do anticipate opening up this cycle again, most likely it will be next year whenever the overall settlement has occurred and we know how much additional funding is available for Santa Rosa County. Mr. Walker added that this is going to be a long term process that was set up by federal statute enabling the county to participate and our goal is to make it as navigable for individuals as we can. I
Mr. Marker said that this committee is supportive of oyster reefs in the bay as well as grass projects seen further up the bay system. He then asked if projects could be submitted by the Marine Advisory Committee and Mr. Walker said that certainly an idea can be put together. Mr. Marker stated that if we have the resources to identify a couple of projects for Blackwater or Escambia Bay that would be beneficial, that it would be his desire to submit a project since this committee is trying to take care of the waterway. Hunter Walker stated that the county had been participating in the watershed efforts of the Nature Conservancy and a number of other projects and that he would keep this committee informed.
FY2015 Artificial Reef Grant Cvcle
Ms. Verlinde stated that there will be a grant cycle this year but it is not on their website yet. She said that there is some concern about how we are dealing with panhandle counties that will be receiving NRDA construction funds and is not sure if that will influence the geographic distribution of the annual artificial reef grants. She added that the money is supposed to be transferred to FWC in the first quarter of 2015 and from there it will be dispersed to the counties. Projects and plans have been submitted from Escambia to Bay County but how the money will be divided is still unclear. Mr. Marker asked if any of that money will be spent in 2015 and Ms. Verlinde stated that it possibly could.
Hunter Walker asked if the process would essentially be the same as the FBIP project and Ms. Verlinde said that at this point we do not know. She added that at an earlier meeting this year it was discussed whether the NRDA money for the panhandle counties would be distributed the same way as the artificial reef grant program process and she did not believe it has been decided yet. Ms. V erlinde stated that two projects had been submitted: the expansion of the Navarre Beach Marine Sanctuary and a one mile near shore reef primarily for kayaking and snorkeling to be put closer to the western part of the beach. She added that the Marine Sanctuary had been permitted and the near shore project was in process but a lot of the other counties projects had not permitted yet. Ms. Verlinde stated that Robert Turpin had submitted in the NRDA process a number of projects in the Escambia County LARS areas that will benefit us as well.
Escambia River Log Jam- Scott Walker referenced information that he had received off of the website NorthEscambia.com which indicated that the project is getting ready for commence.
Boat Ramp Maintenance Update - Mr. Whitfield stated that a small project was currently underway at the Terrill Landing boat ramp on Escambia River where they are replacing the rusted metal catwalk that assists boaters getting in and out of their boats at whatever level the river is at. He added that it will be replaced with one that is a little better designed that will be on a straight slope rather than at different levels. 2
Mr. Whitfield stated that he had received a report today that there may be a problem at the Woodlawn Beach boat ramp with cracking and some settlement and this will be investigated further to see if we need to do some repair on that particular ramp. He said that routine winter inspections will take place to see if any maintenance is needed.
Mr. Marker asked about the status of the boat ramp at East River. Mr. Whitfield stated that we didn't made an attempt to purchase any further property. He added that there have not been a lot of complaints about having lack of room but it could change in the future during the weekends or holidays.
Boater Registration Fees as of December 31, 2014 is $198,291.
Ms. Verlinde reminded everyone that Florida boating improvement grant funding will be opening up around February 1st and the grant period is for two months or 60 days after it opens. Mr. Marker asked ifthere were any staff recommendations or projects that would fit in that category. Hunter Walker said one item that may fit are the hinged no wake zone signs that the City of Milton requested and the BOCC approved. Mr. Marker suggested that the City of Milton prepare something in writing that can then be submitted.
NEXT MEETING DATE
The next meeting is scheduled for February 3, 2015 at 5:00p.m.
There being no further business to come before the Committee the meeting was adjourned at 5:30p.m.