Estuary program gets new name, new funding
The Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Partnership has a new name, but its mission remains the same.
The program, formerly the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, is continuing its work to protect Charlotte Harbor’s shorelines, as well as six other Southwest Florida estuaries from Dona and Roberts Bays in Sarasota County south to Estero Bay in Lee County and their watershed drainage areas.
The program is striving to find more funding for a new living shoreline on the north side of the seawall at Four Points by Sheraton Punta Gorda Harborside hotel.
“Our mission is to serve as a collective, working collaboratively in a consensus-based fashion to further common initiatives and projects for the protection of these resources,” said Jennifer Hecker, CHNEP executive director. “We at the same time of the name change, expanded our boundary to cover the freshwater Caloosahatchee basin in addition to the tidal which we had already covered. This, as well as the name change, has brought in new partners or reengaged former partners, strengthening the partnership and its efforts.”
In April, the Punta Gorda Council approved an action allowing the city to apply for a new National Coastal Resilience Grant that could bring in around $250,000—depending on the size of the project — to help fund a living shoreline.