The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will host a public meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 28 in Panama City Beach to gather input on the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council’s Path Forward document and Florida’s projects to be submitted to the Council for its consideration. The meeting will be co-hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and will be held in the Student Union East Conference Center at Gulf Coast State College.
The Department and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be presenting information on the state’s five priority areas for projects and will seek input on projects the public would like submitted to the Council for consideration for inclusion in the initial Comprehensive Plan.
The RESTORE Act, which was passed by Congress on June 29, 2012 and signed into law by President Obama on July 6, 2012, created the Council, and established several funding categories for the Clean Water Act civil and administrative penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20, 2010. The Council is required, after notice and opportunity for public comment, to publish an initial Comprehensive Plan by July 6, 2013. The Path Forward document, which was released by the Council on Jan. 29, describes how the Council will build on the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force’s work and articulates the Council’s plan to collaboratively develop the initial Comprehensive Plan.
The public may provide comments on the Path Forward document by email to RestoreCouncil@doc.gov. State projects can be submitted online by visiting http://www.dep.state.