BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Bay County commissioners proposed an amendment to their multi-year RESTORE Act plan Tuesday morning.

They’re requesting $11.3 million to add more projects to their list.

Commissioners want $10 million for Project Aqua, a codenamed Bay Economic Development Alliance venture to bring an industrial park to Panama City.

They also want $1.3 million for various projects to preserve the bays.

“It’s beneficial for the enjoyment of our citizens and also the economic opportunity that provides by bringing in visitors as well and letting them enjoy our bay system that’s in Bay County,” Bay County RESTORE Act Coordinator Jim Muller said.

The federal government introduced the RESTORE Act in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

Bay County has been involved since 2017 and has amended the plan three times.

This fourth time would add four new projects.

One of which is aimed at protecting seagrass from prop scars.

“A lot of people that come here don’t realize how shallow it is and how important that seagrass is,” St. Andrew and St. Joseph Bays Estuary Program Executive Director Dr. Jessica Graham said. “This is really going to help educate them while they’re at the docks and then while they’re on the water of, hey, look, there’s shallow water here and there’s seagrass here.”

Graham wants to use this money to create an interactive map boaters can use while on the water to avoid damaging seagrass.

She said keeping the bays healthy is also vital to the local economy.

“What we saw down in Tampa Bay when water quality was not very good is that their economy sort of crashed,” Graham said. “We want to make sure that this area does not see those impacts. People don’t want to live near the water. They don’t want to have businesses here. You can’t get people to live here if you have a poor-quality habitat. Making sure that this area is healthy will just help to bring more people in and stay here and really make it their role of protecting it as well.”

Residents have 45 days to offer input, then the amendment will be sent to the treasury department for eligibility approval.