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EPA Awards $262,204 to the University of Florida for Habitat Restoration

04/19/2018
Contact Information: 
Dawn Harris-Young (harris-young.dawn@epa.gov)
(404) 562-8421 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

ATLANTA (April 19, 2018) -- Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program announced that the University of Florida Board of Trustees received a $262,204 cooperative agreement to focus on habitat restoration.

The goal of the project is to restore 24 acres of riparian habitat on the Apalachicola River in the Florida Panhandle by planting willow stakes on sand bars enlarged by dredge disposal. This project will also educate 200 students and other stakeholders on restoration efforts.

The Apalachicola River Watershed Focal Area lies at the boundary of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River system in Northwest Florida, and accounts for the second largest freshwater inflow to the Gulf via the Apalachicola River – which is also 35 percent of the west coast of Florida’s total freshwater input.

“The Gulf of Mexico Program is pleased to partner with the University of Florida on this vital restoration effort,” said EPA Regional Administrator Trey Glenn. “We anticipate this cooperative agreement will lead to a more vibrant and healthy Apalachicola River.”

Riparian habitats include those areas along waterbodies that serve as a boundary between native and aquatic ecosystems. The Apalachicola River and Bay Watershed, one of the most undeveloped and productive estuaries in the United States, supports a number of diverse wetland communities. The bay serves as a major nursery for ecologically and commercially important species, producing about 90 percent of the oysters harvested in the state of Florida (10 percent of the national total) as well as large catches of shrimp and blue crab.

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is funded by the EPA and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States.

More information about the Gulf of Mexico Program go to: https://www.epa.gov/gulfofmexico