Monday, February 17, 2014

NWFWMD Approves Funding to Improve Water Quality in Apalachicola Bay

The Northwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board last week approved up to $443,000 in grant funding to the City of Apalachicola for the construction of a water quality improvement project in Apalachicola Bay. This funding builds upon $71,500 in District funding previously provided for the design and engineering phase of this stormwater improvement project, which will treat stormwater that currently discharges directly into Apalachicola Bay.

“Protecting the Apalachicola River and Bay remains one of the District’s top priorities,” said Executive Director Jon Steverson. “We look forward to continuing to work with the City, state agencies and other stakeholders to improve water quality and restore flow to the Bay.”

The Battery Park Basin Stormwater Improvement Project consists of two primary components designed to improve stormwater quality before it discharges into Apalachicola Bay—a treatment system in the upper reaches of the basin and a baffle box near the Bay. The project will treat stormwater and separate pollutants including nutrients, bacteria, suspended solids and heavy metals from stormwater before it discharges it into the bay, improving water quality and protecting aquatic habitat. Currently, stormwater within the 67 acre Battery Park basin discharges directly into the Bay with little or no treatment.

Along with improving the quality of water entering the Bay, the Battery Park project provides stormwater infrastructure that will help address localized flooding within the Battery Park basin.  

The District remains committed to the restoration of the Apalachicola River and Bay. The District’s 2013-2014 budget includes a total of $4.7 million for Apalachicola River and Bay watershed protection and restoration, including $3 million proposed by Governor Rick Scott and approved by the Florida Legislature as part of the state’s Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget. Funding for the Battery Park project is allocated by the District through its Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) program.