Two Sunshine State projects have tentatively been chosen for $6.3 million in funding from the $1 billion BP Deepwater Horizon damages fund.
This is the second round of projects from the BP fund. Florida is expected to receive $100 million for early restoration projects from the fund.
Of Florida's 770 miles of coastline, more than 170 miles took oil from the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
In Southwest Florida and all along the Gasparilla Island coastline, none of the spilled crude oil ever came closer than 100 miles, however, the tourist industry in Charlotte, Sarasota and Lee counties was affected by costly cancellations involving lodging, fishing and other recreations.
Florida spokeswoman Kendra Parson said many projects from Southwest Florida have been submitted for consideration although none have been funded yet. Areas in and around Gasparilla Island sustained no oil damage but did lose millions of dollars in reservation cancellations, said Tamara Pigott of the Lee County Visitors & Convention Bureau.
The proposed new projects focus on restoring nesting habitat for birds and sea turtles and will be finalized after a public comment period, which ends Dec. 10.
"These restoration projects are important for our environment, our businesses and the communities that rely on these incredible natural habitats," said Gov. Rick Scott in a press release. "While this is a step in the right direction, our work is not complete - and we will continue to work to ensure Florida communities are fully restored."
The Deepwater Horizon Phase II Draft Early Restoration Plan and Environmental Review describes the second round of projects proposed to receive funding. The $4.9 million in Phase I projects are already under way, including four boat ramps and a dune restoration project - all in Escambia County.
The proposed second-phase projects will take place in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf and Franklin counties. The projects will hopefully be implemented in time for the 2013 nesting season.
Go to gulfspillrestoration.noaa.gov to view the DERP/EA, access public meeting information, see details of the proposed early restoration projects and submit public comment.
For more information on the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process and projects being submitted go to dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon.