House Gives Final Approval to $5.5 Million for Wares Creek, $500,000 for Sarasota Renewable Energy Center, $305,000 for Lido Beach, $100,000 for Anna Maria Island Beach Re-nourishment, $100,000 for Port Manatee and up to $5 million for Sarasota Bay Restoration
Washington, DC – October 2, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Vern Buchanan (FL-13) has won final approval in the House of $8.3 million in federal funding for environmental projects in Florida’s 13th District. The House voted 308-114 for the fiscal year 2010 energy and water appropriations bill (H.R. 3183) today. The bill includes federal funding Buchanan requested to help dredge Wares Creek, promote alternative energy, re-nourish Lido and Anna Maria Island beaches, make navigation improvements to Manatee Harbor and restore Sarasota Bay.
$5,565,000 for Wares Creek Flood and Coastal Storm Damage Project.
The energy and water appropriations bill includes $5.565 million requested by Buchanan to remove sediment build-up that has caused storm flooding in Bradenton’s Wares Creek neighborhood.
“For more than 20 years, the residents of this neighborhood have been waiting for government to provide flood protection,” said Buchanan. “This funding will save thousands of dollars in damages and improve the quality of life for area residents.”
The two-term Member of Congress has now secured a total of $14 million to dredge the flood-prone creek and increased the project’s federal authorization from $13.8 million to $42.6 million.
“This is much needed federal assistance to prevent the loss of life and property damage that we have witnessed over the years,” said Manatee County Director of Natural Resources, Charlie Hunsicker. “Congressman Buchanan’s public service in Congress to move the Army Corps to action to build this project for the benefit of Manatee County has been consistent and unwavering.”
Bradenton City Commissioner, Patrick Roff said, “Once again Congressman Buchanan has gone to bat for City of Bradenton and particularly Wares Creek and successfully secured more funding. He’s really picked up the ball and run with this project.”
$500,000 for Sarasota Renewable Energy Center
The bill includes $500,000 sought by Buchanan for a renewable/alternative energy center in Sarasota County.
“Sarasota County is an established national leader in the effort to conserve energy and promote alternative fuels,” said Buchanan. “With this funding the county will partner with the federal and state governments, universities and the private sector to construct a zero-energy LEED Platinum certified green building to house the center. This collaboration will promote the application of alternative energy technologies and contribute to the future sustainability of our state and nation.”
“The Energy Center will significantly advance Sarasota County’s initiatives to cultivate green economic development and create high-value jobs,” said Joe Barbetta, Sarasota County Commission Vice Chair. “In addition to sustainable economic development, we are committed to addressing the issues of climate change, energy independence and energy affordability at the local level. We are very grateful to Congressman Buchanan for his support and assistance in helping us achieve our community energy goals.”
$305,000 for Lido Key Beach Re-nourishment
Buchanan also secured an additional $305,000 in the bill to assist the City of Sarasota with their Lido Key beach re-nourishment project.
“Coastal erosion has been a long-term, persistent problem on Lido Key, threatening commercial and residential structures as well as public infrastructure,” said Buchanan. “A significant portion of this erosion is, in fact, caused by New Pass, a federally-maintained channel which interferes with the natural long shore movement of sand. This funding will help maintain this local gem for enjoyment today and in the future.”
Sarasota Mayor Dick Clapp said, “The City of Sarasota and all of our residents appreciate the federal dollars that come back to our community to support one of the critical issues we face, particularly the continuing need to re-nourish our beaches. Lido Beach is a key element of our local economy as well as our quality of life. Congressman Buchanan continues to help our community by assisting in addressing important needs.”
$100,000 for Anna Maria Island Beach Re-nourishment
The bill also includes $100,000 sought by Buchanan for planning and design required to include Anna Maria Island in the federally authorized beach re-nourishment program, which allows federal funds to be used to augment local tourist taxes collected by Manatee County to help pay for beach re-nourishment.
“This funding will allow the federal government to partner with Manatee County on periodic beach re-nourishment on Anna Maria Island,” said Buchanan. “This federal support is vital to the environmental and economic health of this coastal community.”
Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford said, “This is an answer to our prayers. This is just wonderful news and the residents being impacted are so grateful.”
$100,000 for Post Authorization for Port Manatee Harbor Basin
The bill includes $100,000 sought by Buchanan and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-11) to determine whether the federal government will accept maintenance dredging responsibilities for a federal portion of the Manatee Harbor basin.
“Port Manatee is an economic engine that continues to grow in revenue and cargo,” said Buchanan. “Maintenance dredging is critical to the port’s continued success. This study is required before the federal government will accept the maintenance dredging responsibilities of a federal channel currently maintained by the port.”
“The anticipated result of this authorization levels the playing field for Port Manatee with other U.S. ports by eliminating a costly federal oversight,” said Executive Director David L. McDonald. “This legislation correctly places maintenance dredging responsibilities for the federal portion of the Port Manatee Harbor basin under the auspices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Over time, Congressman Buchanan’s solution will save the port millions of dollars while providing our customers consistent access to federally maintained deep draft facilities.”
Sarasota Bay Ecosystem Restoration
The bill provides up to $5 million in federal funding to help protect groundwater that flows from Phillippi Creek into the Sarasota Bay National Estuary by connect area homes and businesses to central sewers.
“Sarasota Bay is a vital regional asset,” said Buchanan. “Groundwater from failing septic systems is polluting the bay. By improving the quality of water that flows into the bay, this bill would help protect public health and restore this important natural resource.”
“Sarasota County is extremely grateful for Congressman Buchanan’s leadership in effectively recognizing our community’s needs and focusing Congressional action on them,” Jon Thaxton, chair of the Sarasota County Commission, said. “The Sarasota Bay Restoration Project protects the surface waters that flow into the Sarasota Bay National Estuary program area, an important federal designated water resource and estuary. It’s critical to our local economy to preserve the water quality and wildlife habitat the bay provides.”
“This funding opportunity demonstrates Congressman Buchanan’s continuing commitment to help in restoring Sarasota Bay, said Sarasota Bay Estuary Program Director Mark Alderson. “The Phillippi Creek Septic System Replacement Program is an important step in that restoration process as it removes both nutrient and bacteria pollution from Sarasota Bay’s largest tributary, Phillippi Creek.”
$472,000 for completion of the planning, engineering and design and continued re-evaluation of the Tampa Harbor
The bill also includes an additional $472,000 Buchanan, Castor and U.S. Reps. Bill Young (FL-10) and Adam Putnam (FL-12) requested to study the need for improvements to the Tampa Harbor in order to meet projected increases in international commerce.
$1,313,000 for the West Coast Inland Navigation District (WCIND)
Finally, the bill includes an additional $1,313,000 sought by Buchanan, Young and Congressman Connie Mack (FL-14) for maintenance dredging of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
Sally Tibbetts 941.951.6643