More Manatee Mayhem...

Old 09-13-2007, 10:14 AM
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Angry More Manatee Mayhem...

This is such crap! I'm sick and tired of this junk!
Of course, this is in the St. Pete Times which is one of the nation's largest, most useless liberal tree-hugging rags, but whatever.

I know that Frank Maggio guy (friend of a friend) mentioned in the article. I was really looking forward to his new marina renovations.

Read some of the comments under the article. Makes my blood boil.
You can see my comments under 'Nick'
If you have a second, please make your feelings known.

Manatee safety trumps boating, in feds' eyes

The U.S. government blocks new boat slips in Boca Ciega Bay.

By CRAIG PITTMAN, Times Staff Writer
Published September 13, 2007
U.S. News Video

ST. PETERSBURG -- The state is thinking about taking manatees off the endangered list, but the federal government is blocking new boat slips that may threaten them.

And developers say it's at their expense.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, concerned about an increase in boat-related manatee deaths in Pinellas County waterways, has rejected permits for seven new projects seeking to add boat slips.

The projects would add 729 boat slips to Boca Ciega Bay, which federal officials said would put too many new boats into an area where manatees are already being hit too often and boaters are not required to slow down.

One developer affected by the decision, Frank Maggio, learned last week that manatees are preventing him from getting a permit for his Nautico II marina to add 194 boat slips near the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

He called it "a knee-jerk reaction" by federal officials who just want good headlines for helping a species he contended is not really endangered anymore.

"In reality, they're flourishing," he said Wednesday.

But manatee advocates, at a meeting of the state wildlife commission Wednesday in St. Petersburg, pointed to the federal action as a contrast to the state's push to remove manatees from the endangered list -- a move delayed only by the governor himself.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission agreed to postpone the controversial final vote on taking manatees off the endangered list and reclassifying them as threatened. They did so at the request of Gov. Charlie Crist, who said he wants to make sure manatees retain strong protection.

Commissioners hope to try again at their next meeting in December, once their staff determines the governor's concerns.

For six years boaters, dock builders and waterfront developers throughout Florida have chafed at the increase in regulations on the state's waterways in the name of protecting the popular manatee.

"Manatees do not suffer from any lack of protection," Ken Stead of the Marine Industry of Florida told state wildlife commissioners Wednesday.

Contending that the estimated population of 3,000 manatees shows there are more than ever, boating and development groups have pushed for state and federal wildlife agencies to take manatees off the endangered list.

In 2001 a recreational fishing group, the Coastal Conservation Association of Florida, petitioned the state wildlife commissioners to take manatees off the state's endangered list. Wednesday's vote was scheduled to mark the last step in the process of reclassifying manatees as merely threatened.

But Crist asked the state agency to postpone the vote because a record number of manatees died last year -- more than 400 -- and because there is a need for a better way to calculate how many manatees are left than for biologists to fly around in the winter counting noses. He also noted that three of the commissioners are new to the board and need time to learn about the complex issue.

Crist's move angered boating advocates such as Bonnie Basham, who represents the Florida Council of Yacht Clubs. His intervention showed that "the science had been thrown away and the politics had entered once again," Basham said.

Pinellas has more than 56,000 registered boats, second only to Miami-Dade County.

Five of the Boca Ciega projects want to add only a handful of docks to the bay. But two of them are quite large: Maggio's and a joint venture by East Madeira Corp. and Travis Corp., which want 99 wet slips and 400 dry ones.

Under a law that dates back to the 1890s, dock projects in navigable waterways need permits from the Army Corps of Engineers. But because manatees are classified as an endangered species, the corps cannot approve the dock permits without an okay from the federal wildlife agency.

In a 20-page report on the Boca Ciega Bay projects, dated Aug. 24, Fish and Wildlife Service officials said that the builders want to put too many docks into too small an area.

They cited the increasing number of manatee deaths in the area. And they pointed out that Pinellas County lacks a comprehensive plan for dealing with development in manatee habitat.

There are no speed regulations in that part of the bay, federal officials noted, and over the past five years, 41 percent of all manatee deaths in Pinellas waterways have been blamed on boats -- higher than the state average of 25 percent.

"The protection is not there," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Chuck Underwood said Wednesday.

The federal wildlife agency cited similar reasons recently in blocking several new waterfront developments in fast-growing Flagler County near Jacksonville.

One developer, Centex, offered to pay $100,000 to help Flagler write a manatee protection plan, as long as Centex got its dock permits first. But the Flagler County Commission rejected that plan this week.

In recent years, actions by the federal agency to block new docks have spurred the strongest backlash against manatee protection measures. A 2002 public hearing on tightening dock-building rules drew 3,000 angry people toting signs that said, "Stop the Manatee Insanity!" Ultimately federal officials dropped those regulations.

Last edited by CigDaze; 09-13-2007 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 09-13-2007, 10:35 AM
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Yep Nick,
It really sucks and eventually there will be less and less public access points to the water!!! And that is the $MC whole agenda, is to shut down public access to all of Florida's PUBLIC waterways!
Everything is for sale @ a certain $$
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