St. Andrew and St. Joseph Bays Estuary Program celebrate National Estuaries Week

Tony Simmons

The St. Andrew and St. Joseph Bays Estuary Program (SASJBEP) will celebrate National Estuaries Week by hosting four open house events across the watershed to introduce the draft Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) for public review. Additionally, local area restaurants have pledged their support of the program by donating a portion of their proceeds on selected days throughout the week.
The CCMP is a regional plan to protect and restore the quality of the natural resources in the St. Andrew Bay watershed. It identifies eight priority issues impacting the watershed and outlines a blueprint for collaborative actions that SASJBEP will take together with partners across the region.
“The open houses will allow us an opportunity to share the draft CCMP with the public and highlight some ongoing and future work occurring across the watershed,” said Jessica Graham, SASJBEP executive director.
The SASJBEP is soliciting public comment on all sections of the CCMP. To provide comments, visit
The open house events are family-friendly and scheduled on several dates and times to reach as many area residents as possible. The first kicks off at FSU Panama City from noon to 5 p.m. (CDT) on Monday, Sept. 18; then from 5:30-8:30 p.m. (CDT) on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at the Bay County Public Library. On Wednesday, Sept. 20, open house will be at the Port Inn Event Hall in Gulf County from 1-6:30 p.m. (EDT); then at the Lynn Haven Garden Club from 3-6:30 p.m. (CDT) on Thursday, Sept. 21.
Drop in at any time during the events and join SASJBEP staff to learn more about the bays and watershed, as well as the plan to protect and restore the bays. Participants may provide feedback and snag some fun, sea themed photos with the family.
To continue the celebration of National Estuaries Week and support of the Estuary Program, local area restaurants have pledged to support SASJBEP by donating proceeds from sales on the following dates: Sept. 20 at Hammerhead Fred’s, Sept. 21 at Beef 'O’ Brady’s in Lynn Haven, and Sept. 22 at FINNS Island Style Grub (both locations). Proceeds will go toward efforts to increase awareness of the watershed, such as stormwater drain marking and seagrass awareness campaigns to protect seagrass, which is home to many animals during portions of their life.
“We are so grateful to our local restaurants for continuing to support our program, and many are repeating this support for the second year,” Graham said.
For more information about SASJBEP, visit and follow us @SASJBEP.