Sarasota News Leader

12/21/2012

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RESTORE RANKINGS A 2010 Deepwater Horizon flaring operation. Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Kelley, via Flickr SARASOTA COUNTY COMMISSION SETTLES ON PRIORITIES FOR SPENDING FUNDS FROM THE BP DEEPWATER HORIZON SETTLEMENT By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor The Sarasota County Commission this week made minor tweaks to a list of high-priority projects the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program hopes will be funded through the RESTORE Act, the federal law that guides how penalties paid by BP for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will be spent. While no one knows exactly how much money will eventually be made available through the RESTORE Act, local governments and agencies around the Gulf Coast are jockeying to pick up cash for hometown projects. The Joint Estuary Program Group ��� comprising organizations that oversee Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor ��� plans to submit a ranked list of ecosystem restoration projects to the federal government in the hopes of winning some of that BP money. Sarasota County Coastal Resources Manager Laird Wreford presented the original Sarasota Bay list to the County Commission Monday, Dec. 17, requesting approval before submitting the document to the regional group. The Sarasota list ranges from land acquisition to removing invasive vegetation to stormwater management upgrades. RESTORE Act rules stipulate that winning projects be guided by four goals: ���Restore and Conserve Habitat,��� ���Restore Water Quality,��� ���Replenish and Protect Living Coastal and Marine Resources��� and ���Enhance Community Resilience.���

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