Coastal dune lakes outfalls being prepared for closing to avoid oil spill intrusion
Walton County has received the necessary permits from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to initiate our Coastal Dune Lake Protection Plan. Contractors began implementing the first stage of our plan by stock piling sand to close the dune lakes and re-contour lake outfalls to prevent oil from entering the lakes in the event of increased wave action in the Gulf of Mexico.
These lakes can be closed off by using stockpiled sand if needed, and then reopened to prevent lake flooding. This procedure is part of Walton County’s plan for the coastal lakes, which will be monitored by the Walton County Public Works Department, its contractors and engineers.
In addition, the Sheriff’s Office, South Walton Tourist Development Council and South Walton Fire District will be monitoring our coastline with trained personnel to quickly respond and assist with any oil related incidents along our twenty-six miles of beach.
Our beautiful beaches remain oil free and open for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. As we monitor the situation, the U.S. Coast Guard is managing staging areas in Panama City and Pensacola, which includes equipment such as boom and skimmers. They also have hundreds of workers at these areas, ready to respond to our area if needed. Vessels of opportunity are patrolling the coastline monitoring the situation. The boat captains are prepared to begin clean up efforts off shore to help prevent oil from reaching our coastline.
Volunteers are encouraged to call 1-866-448-5816, for information of volunteer efforts. The Sheriff’s Offices will continue to update its Facebook and website (www.waltonso.org) to keep the public informed of any new developments concerning this incident and potential impacts.
If any suspected oil substance is found on the coastline do not touch or remove it but call (866)448-5816 or (850)267-2000 and report the findings for them to be properly disposed of.