The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program announced yesterday 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, said EPA in its statement.
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.”
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.