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Newsletter from the West Florida Regional Planning Council ……

West Florida Regional Planning Council | Dec. 2017
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2017 Emerald Coast Transportation Symposium

The Emerald Coast Transportation Symposium provides a forum for leadership in transportation to explore cross-organization collaboration, develop lasting local and regional partnerships, share best practices, and give innovators a platform to inspire others. This event brings professionals and policy-makers together to openly discuss ways to adapt current transportation issues into innovative and improved economic and environmental realities.

 

On November 8-9, more than 150 attendees gathered at the Sheraton Bay Point Resort in Panama City Beach to attend the 2017 Emerald Coast Transportation Symposium hosted by WFRPC. A diverse and unique collection of panel discussions and special speakers filled the day-and-a-half event with valuable and cutting-edge information on topics including complete streets, public transportation, intelligent transportation systems, emerging transportation technologies, public involvement, tourism, freight, and more.

 

Special guest speakers included Jay Trumbull, Chairman of the Florida Transportation Commission and Phillip Gainer, P.E., Florida Department of Transportation, District 3 Secretary. Keynote speakers were Dr. Monica Scamardo of Variate Consulting and Michael Willis of Color Nine Group, LLC.

Pictured below are some moments from the event, including the WFRPC evening reception, Starlight Soiree.

New Year Ushers in Estuary Program for Bay Area Resource Council
Thirty years of Bay Area Resource Council (BARC) partnership is creating a new chapter – an estuary program!  BARC member governments (Santa Rosa County, Escambia County, City of Pensacola, City of Milton, and City of Gulf Breeze) teamed with stakeholders throughout the region to submit a successful proposal for a RESTORE-EPA funding opportunity to establish the new estuary program.
On November 1, the BARC held a Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program informational meeting at the Escambia County Central Office Complex, bringing together 65 stakeholders, potential policy board members, and technical advisory committee members from throughout the Pensacola Bay and Perdido Bay watersheds in the northwest Florida panhandle and Alabama.
 

Estuaries provide economic and environmental benefits, including critical habitats for birds, fish, amphibians, insects, and other wildlife. This includes species that are valued commercially, recreationally, and culturally. Estuaries maintain healthy ocean environments for marine life by filtering sediments and pollutants, and are vital to coastal communities, providing recreation, transportation, fishing, and tourism.
 

The BARC expects to stand up the Estuary Program over the next four years through a cooperative agreement from RESTORE and EPA, with Escambia County as the host agency.  Please contact Katie Wilhelm at katie.wilhelm@wfprc.org for information on becoming involved.

Above: Chips Kirschenfeld, Escambia County Department of Natural Resources, provides an overview of the next steps in the estuary program.

West Florida and Apalachee Regional Planning Councils Co-Host Gulf of Mexico Alliance Event
West Florida and Apalachee Regional Planning Councils hosted the Gulf of Mexico Alliance’s (GOMA) Coastal Resilience Team’s Fall/Winter meeting in Pensacola. The Coastal Resilience Team includes active participation from all five Gulf states and federal agencies working in the region, as well as academia, businesses, and non-profit organizations. The team has three goals: 1) Increase awareness and knowledge of tools and resources to assist coastal stakeholders in becoming more resilient and sustainable; 2) Promote the understanding of coastal risks and the availability of resilience and restoration tools for those who live, work, visit, and do business along the Gulf of Mexico; 3) Promote adaptation, mitigation, and restoration as strategies to preserve heritage, conserve natural resources, and support the economic viability of the coast.
The Fall/Winter meeting was held November 13-15. It included a tour of the robotics lab at IHMC and walking tours of Project Greenshores with The Nature Conservancy’s Darryl Boudreau, and “Hot City, Cool City,” with Christian Wagley of Sustainable Town Concepts.Sponsors of the event were Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Coastal Management Program, PPM Consultants, Terracon, and Allen Engineering and Science.

Above: Christian Wagley, Sustainable Town Concepts, guides a walking tour through downtown Pensacola, Fla.

For more information on GOMA, visit:  http://www.gulfofmexicoalliance.org/our-priorities/priority-issue-teams/community-resilience-team/

Beal Parkway Corridor Management Plan Underway

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