GWMI – Under Consideration for Bay County Restore Act Funds

We need your help.


The funds available from this grant will tremendously help Gulf World Marine Institute in our stranding efforts. This grant will provide funds towards the building of a Marine Animal Stranding, Rehabilitation and Necropsy Facility.  The facility alone will cost 1.25 million dollars and Gulf World Marine Institute is requesting $750,000 from the Bay County Commissioner’s RESTORE Act to help fund this project. Gulf World Marine Park is providing the land and $250,000; GWMI will be raising the remainder of the funds.


This facility will be open to the public and school field trips at no charge. It will be a state of the art presentation about the issues affecting our marine environment and the animals that live there. Economically it will attract more environmentally conscious visitors, add to the job force and will attract national and international marine animal researchers to use space that we will make available to them. The completion of the much needed necropsy facility will be the only one of its kind in North Florida. The construction of this facility is strongly supported by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission.


GWMI has already received several grants to help with equipment and personnel but none of these work without a facility to house them.  The Bay County RESTORE Act Grant is the only grant that will provide the funding for the infrastructure of this project.

If you would like to learn more about what the RESTORE Act Grant will do for Gulf World Marine Institute click here.


How you can help.

The Bay County Board of Commissioners is looking for comments and letters of support from members of the community for the projects that are under consideration during the 45 day public comment period that ends 4 pm CT, September 2, 2016. We ask for your support of the Marine Animal Stranding, Rehabilitation and Necropsy Facility during this time. At the end of the 45 days the Bay County Commissioners will host a public hearing to choose the projects that will be submitted to the Treasury Department. Your support letter or email will help to secure approval by the commissioners.

Below is a sample letter of support that you may send as is, or with additional comments.


Dear _________,

I strongly support Gulf World Marine Institute (GWMI) and their mission to obtain these RESTORE Act funds to complete a rehabilitation, necropsy and research facility. I have been a long-time supporter of the work that Gulf World Marine Institute does for the marine animals in our community. I know that with the proper facilities, GWMI will be able to make an even larger impact. I acknowledge that the efforts of Gulf World Marine Institute will work to conserve the marine animal populations in the Gulf of Mexico. Please vote for the passing of this project in the RESTORE Act funds.




Email comments can be sent to; mailed comments can be sent to RESTORE Act Direct Component, County Manager’s Office, 840 W. 11th St., Panama City, FL 32401.

We also strongly encourage you to email or mail a letter to your district’s bay county commissioner. If you happen to see them out and about in the community we encourage you to personally express your support.

Mike Nelson, Chairman District 1

George B. Gainer District 2

William T. Dozier, Vice Chairman District 3

Guy M. Tunnell District 4

Philip “Griff” Griffitts District 5