Florida Forever Capital Improvement Grants
The Northwest Florida Water Management District (District or NWFWMD) serves a 16-county area in the Florida panhandle. Northwest Florida consists of mostly rural communities, with population centers in Pensacola and Tallahassee. The area contains some of the rarest and most pristine ecosystems in the state, including freshwater springs, tupelo swamps, salt marshes, seagrass beds, and coastal dune lakes.
In 1999, the Florida Legislature passed the Florida Forever Act (Section 259.105, F.S.). The Florida Forever Trust Fund (Florida Forever), and its predecessor Preservation 2000 (P-2000), established funding sources for the acquisition and preservation of Florida’s environmentally significant lands. Unlike P-2000, however, the Florida Forever program also recognized that land acquisition was only one method for maintaining and protecting our natural and cultural resources. Additional priorities include environmental restoration, water resource development and supply, increased public access, lands maintenance and management, and conservation easements.
The District's Governing Board recognized this policy change as an opportunity to address water resource issues on the local level. In 2003, the Florida Forever Competitive Capital Improvement Grant program was initiated allocating up to half of the funds to capital improvement projects. Grant funding was made available over several years on a competitive basis, resulting in the completion of many projects that addressed local challenges while also accomplishing regional water resource priorities. Additionally, the District utilized Florida Forever capital improvement funding to accomplish important restoration objectives, including wetland restoration, public access improvements, water quality improvements, and spring restoration.
Eligible uses of the Northwest Florida Water Management District’s Florida Forever capital improvement funds include:
- Projects identified through the District’s Surface Water Improvement and Management (SWIM) program.
- Stormwater management projects that provide for water quality improvement and stormwater retrofit.
- Projects that provide for restoration of aquatic, wetland, or riparian habitats.
- Capital improvements that qualify as water resource development projects as defined by Section 259.03(6), F.S. Such projects include improvements that enhance or restore aquifer recharge, facilitate capture and storage of excess flows in surface waters, or promote reclamation, storage, or recovery of water (reuse).
- Other activities that would assist in meeting the goals of the Florida Forever Act (§259.105(4), F.S.).
For further information on the Florida Forever Competitive Capital Improvement Grant Program, please visit the links below or contact Paul Thorpe at (850) 539-5999 or Paul.Thorpe@nwfwmd.state.fl.us.
Summary of Florida Forever CI Grant Projects (Updated March 2012)
Example Project - Nonpoint Source Pollution Abatement
Example Project - Stormwater Retrofit
Example Project - Stream Restoration
More information on the Florida Forever program can be found from the Department of Environmental Protection's website at: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/lands/default.htm.
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