Walton County approves applications for federal grant funds

FEDERAL GRANT funds have been applied for by Walton County for several purposes, including a health clinic in Mossy Head, an effort to restore the hydrology of the coastal dune lakes, and a feasibility study on impacts to the Choctawhatchee Bay. The goal of the latter study would be to identify a cost sharing project that would aid in the restoration of the Choctawhatchee Bay.

By DOTTY NIST

Walton County recently authorized the filing of applications for federal grant funds.

At the Nov. 12 Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) meeting, the commissioners authorized the filing of an application for a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant for a health clinic in Mossy Head. The officials also approved an application for an Emergency Coastal Resilience Fund grant in connection with a project to restore the hydrology of the coastal dune lakes.

The latter grant, offered through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, (NFWF) would furnish funding for Walton County’s ongoing effort of removing culverts under CR-30A on the coastal dune lakes and replacement with bridges in order to provide for a more natural hydrologic connection of the dune lakes.

According to Louis Svehla, Walton County public information manager, the total amount requested in connection with this NWFW grant is $1,224,603.84, with a $1,175,396.16 match proposed.

Svehla said that also pending is a request for $100,000 in federal funds through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) 206 Program.

The 206 Program is dedicated to restoration of aquatic systems.

Melinda Gates, coastal resources liaison for Walton County Public Works Environmental Resources, explained, “This is not a formal grant, but a request for the Army Corp of Engineers to complete a feasibility study on impacts to the Choctawhatchee Bay. The 206 Program starts out with a feasibility study and will continue with a cost share project that is identified. The specific project has not been identified yet. The goal is to identify a project that will aid in the restoration of the Choctawhatchee Bay. This funding is contingent upon federal appropriation to ACOE.”

Svehla said that Walton County had previously submitted applications for several other federal grant programs but had been turned down for funding.