Waveland joins move for RESTORE Act funding
By Geoff Belcher
Apr 18, 2014, 18:50
The city of Waveland on Wednesday officially joined Bay St. Louis and Diamondhead in a county-wide effort to secure RESTORE Act funds.
The RESTORE Act, enacted in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, provides funding administered by the Department of Marine Resources for eco-system restoration projects.
Nancy Depreo of Seymour Engineering told aldermen Wednesday that there are several waterways in Hancock County which fall into the scope of the RESTORE Act.
Depreo said eligible projects include dredging and marsh replenishment, erosion control, and marsh enhancement.
There are multiple around the county that meet the requirements for RESTORE funding, Depreo said. Bay St. Louis City Councilman Lonnie Falgout, who accompanied Depreo, told Waveland officials Wednesday that it is vital for all of Hancock County's entities to work together to seek RESTORE funding.
He said he, Hancock Supervisor Tony Wayne Ladner and Waveland Mayor David Garcia have been working "quietly, behind the scenes for the past six months," to build a coalition to seek funding.
"Seymour Engineering stepped up and did all the legwork for us free of charge," he said.
"It's a common need that we all share, and a common goal that we all need to come together on to improve our waterways and improve our economy and improve our tourism base," Falgout said Friday. "This is something that is drastically needed. The RESTORE Act is a good opportunity to do it.
"It's going to prove to be a big boost for all of us. Clean the rivers up, clean the bayous, clean up the debris. It's going to be a big opportunity for all of us. The only way to get that accomplished is doing it together."
Falgout said he and others from the coalition will address the Hancock County Board of Supervisors on Monday to seek their full support.
Falgout said he isn't sure how much RESTORE funding will be needed to do all the necessary projects, but likely, "It's going to be in the tens of millions."
"The only way for this to happen is to form a coalition," Falgout said. Individually, we couldn't do it. The main thing that's needed right now, we need to clean up these rivers and tributaries and streams.
With Waveland and the county on board, Falgout said, the next step will be for Seymour Engineering to present a memorandum of understanding for each municipality to sign off on. Then each entity will put up $3,000 toward the effort. Seymour will make the formal application to DMR for the RESTORE Act money.
"Hopefully, we can get a share of this in the first round," Falgout said. "The financing is going to go all the way through 2018."