Foley receives $1.5 million to improve water quality in Bon Secour River

The City of Foley received a $1.5 million grant to improve water quality in Bon Secour River from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The grant to fund the project was written by Leslie Gahagan, Foley’s environmental manager and includes purchasing 94 acres of undeveloped property along the western side of the Bon Secour River headwaters at the southern end of Barner Road in Foley and design plans for creating wetlands to treat urban runoff impacting downstream fisheries. T
The constructed wetlands will address nutrient, sediment and debris flow to improve habitat quality in the lower Bon Secour River and Bon Secour Bay, which historically has included south Alabama’s most significant and productive shellfish habitats and nursery areas for juvenile finfish.
The Bon Secour River is currently included on a list of impaired area waterways by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.
This section of the river encompasses major headwaters and the main channel immediately downstream from Foley. Rapid development of the city over the past two decades has contributed to nutrient and sediment loading to the Bon Secour River and Bay.
Under the proposal, the property purchased by the city will be used to construct stormwater wetlands. The Bon Secour River Watershed Management Plan, completed in January 2017, identifies five critical issues within the Bon Secour River watershed: stormwater management, litter control, water quality, erosion and sedimentation, and invasive species.
This project’s objective includes steps designed to address all five issues identified in the plan funded as part of the settlement from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund that is designated for ecological projects.
The project is broken into to two phases. Phase I includes the acquisition of property, engineering and design specifications and permitting. Phase II includes construction of specified components.
The project is one of eight restoration and conservation projects announced by Governor Kay Ivey in November. The total of the eight projects is $48.7 million.