PANAMA CITY — Bay County’s project to widen Jenks Avenue will include restoring 17 acres of Panama City’s crayfish habitat.
The restoration project is located near 26th Street and Jenks Avenue and it will include removing debris from Hurricane Michael. The 2-inch-long crayfish is a species that is unique to only Bay County. Officials announced about four years ago that it was a threatened species.
The new public park along the shore of North Bay and McKitchen’s Bayou was set up to protect the crayfish that was thought to be extinct.
“Bay County had purchased this property for storm water needs and mitigation for the crayfish prior to the hurricane,” said Keith Bryant, Bay County public works director. “When the hurricane came through, much of the timber was blown down and that’s not good for the species.”
Even today, the species is still considered threatened by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“It is not a federally listed endangered species, but we feel like it will be in the near future,” Bryant said. “According to what we’ve been told, it is soon to be listed as a federal endangered species.”
The Jenks Avenue widening between Baldwin Road and State Road 390 is involved with the habitat reconstruction because storm water facilities have to be constructed along the roadways. Invasive species such as popcorn and titi trees will be removed as part of the habitat reconstruction as well.