PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The state is helping Panama City Beach clean up an environmental issue causing flooding problems.
The legislature has appropriated $6 million to the Lullwater Lake basin project.
Lullwater Lake is full of aquatic weeds that make the lake stagnant.
The poor water quality and overgrowth contributed to the major flooding the community experienced after Hurricane Sally.
When additional state funding became available this summer, the city jumped at the chance to fix the issue.
“We had to prioritize internally in the city what was the most important thing for Panama City Beach to get money for and this is it,” Panama City Beach Mayor Mark Sheldon said. “Lullwater Lake has needed cleaning, it needs the muck cleaned out, it needs the lily pads gone, it needs to bring the lake back to its habitat.”
Florida Rep. Jay Trumbull (R-Panama City) said he wants to see Lullwater Lake enjoyed by the community again.
“I’ve heard stories that there’s a foot and a half of muck down there and underneath that muck, it’s supposed to be beautiful white sand, and with beautiful white sand hopefully the water is extremely clear and clean and families can use it and kids can fish in the lake,” Trumbull said. “I just think its a really beautiful estuary that we should prioritize and make sure there’s plenty of funding for.”
Lullwater Lake resident Francois Moseby is thrilled the lake will be restored.
“It’s a big plus for the neighborhood,” Moseby said. “I won’t have to go to Camp Helen to kayak. I got three kayaks that I have to pack up in the back of the truck and I really like going there but it’ll be nice to go right in the backyard again.”
City officials have already reached out to environmental groups to start the surveying process.
They hope to have the project completed in September 2024.
Last year, the city received $21 million for the offshore outfall mitigation project at Lullwater Lake.
Officials say that project is in the engineering phase and should break ground next year.