CRESTVIEW — A $150,000 award from the nonprofit Nature Conservancy will pay for the first-year costs of an executive director of the planned Choctawhatchee Bay Estuary Program.
The Okaloosa County Commission formally accepted the money Tuesday.
The county also will receive more than $2 million in RESTORE Act money to establish the estuary program, which is aimed to protect and improve the waters, habitats and economies of the Choctawhatchee Bay watershed.
Those RESTORE Act money will come from a portion of the civil penalties that British Petroleum agreed to pay after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The $150,000 from The Nature Conservancy will cover the initial salary and fringe benefits for the estuary program’s executive director, as well as essential startup supplies and equipment for the job.
While the director will be hired by the county and be an employee of the county, he or she will be managed by the Choctawhatchee Bay Estuary Coalition's board of directors.
Holmes, Okaloosa, Walton and Washington counties formed the coalition through an agreement.