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NEW Manatee Zones for Jacksonville FL

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Old 01-27-2003, 09:18 AM
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Boating rules proposal would help end manatee lawsuit


By Steve Patterson
Times-Union staff writer

A federal agency plans to propose new boating restrictions in Duval and Clay counties to help settle a lawsuit about manatee protection.
The restrictions would greatly expand no-wake zones on the St. Johns River from downtown Jacksonville to south of Fleming Island, including Doctors Lake. On the eastern shore, the zone would end at the mouth of Julington Creek in St. Johns County.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed yesterday to propose the change by March. Final rules are scheduled to be ready in July.
The new proposals, which were quickly criticized by a city official, are part of a deal announced yesterday between the federal government and 18 environmental groups led by the Save the Manatee Club. The groups sued three years ago to get tougher enforcement of laws protecting manatees, endangered mammals that frequent Florida waters. An annual census this month counted 2,861.
New restrictions will also be proposed in the Halifax and Tomoka rivers in Volusia County and the Caloosahatchee River in Lee County.
Federal officials additionally agreed to increase scrutiny of the environmental impacts of new dock construction, but said they would try to limit the time agencies spend reviewing permit requests.
Anticipating opposition from boating and development interests, federal officials cast the settlement as one that would benefit Floridians in the long run.
"We have done the right thing for the people of Florida and one of its best natural resources. ... We need the cooperation of the people of the state," said Craig Manson, assistant secretary of the U.S. Interior Department.
Sam Hamilton, Fish and Wildlife's southeastern regional director, said some restrictions may be relaxed in the future if the new protections prove successful.
Boating restrictions have been a contentious issue in Duval County for years, and the settlement outlined yesterday simply reopens the debate.
"I don't think that this is an acceptable solution," said City Councilman Lake Ray, who chaired the Jacksonville Waterways Commission through negotiations in the fall about protections needed for federal permits of three boating projects.
Ray said he thought last year's negotiation, which included an agreement to install buoys every half-mile marking manatee speed zones, had settled the question of adequate protection.
"They had agreed to it, and I'm wondering why they decided to reverse themselves," Ray said.
The restrictions to be proposed locally would create:
A slow-speed zone across the entire river downtown from Reddie Point to the Fuller Warren Bridge. In the river's navigation channel, the top speed would be 25 mph.
A 1,000-foot zone south of the Fuller Warren to Julington Creek on the east and Peter's Creek on the west.
A 900-foot zone along the entire shoreline of Doctors Lake in Clay County.
Established zones vary in width from about 300 feet to 900 feet north of the Fuller Warren. South of there, the zones are variable, running 500 feet from shore in Jacksonville or 200 feet from the end of the longest dock.
There were 305 manatee deaths reported in Florida last year, 95 attributed to collisions with watercraft. Ten of 13 deaths recorded in Duval County last year were blamed on watercraft.
Critics of speed restrictions have said recent local deaths were not caused by recreational boaters. However, a Save the Manatee Club official said there is a years-long history of boaters causing deaths and injuries within the St. Johns.


Staff writer Steve Patterson can be reached at (904) 359-4263 or at spatterson jacksonville.com

The article title says it all, Boating rules proposal would help end manatee lawsuit!! It's all about the lawsuit and not PROTECTING MANATEES!
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Old 01-27-2003, 11:38 AM
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been boating thier for 5 years and have never seen a manatee,
hell you can see a foot down it is so murky.
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Old 01-27-2003, 11:42 AM
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Shore to shore NO boating anymore!
 
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Old 01-30-2003, 02:53 PM
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Interesting post on Fl. Sportsman Website about Manatee data and what the USFWS is hiding!

Beck and Bonde, along with Galen Rathbun, authored a paper titled "Analyses of Propeller Wounds On Manatees in Florida" while working for U.S. Fish and Wildlife that was published in The Journal of Wildlife Managemnet #46(2):1982.

An excerpt: " It is unlikely that boats powered by outboards and stern-drives cause many of the fatal propeller wounds, since these vessels normally have propellers that are smaller in diameter than the average maximum wound length on dead manatees. Additionally, propellers on outboards and stern-drives are not likely to cause severe wounds because of the design of these engines; the engines' skegs prevent the blades from entering deeply into the manatee's flesh. In only 1 instance did a dead manatee have a skeg wound accompanying a series of propeller slashes that averaged less than 40 cm in length. "
" In view of the available information about manatee mortality resulting from motorboat collisions, we believe that large boats powered mainly by inboard engines may be responsible for most of the manatee mortality attributed to propeller strikes. "

I have seen no more recent data to refute these findings. If there is reliable data to prove otherwise, it should be made available to the public immediately.

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Old 01-30-2003, 06:19 PM
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Hey Guys, Its not set in stone yet and the boys From Jacksonville Performance Boat Club and Standing Watch are in full force and we will be heard. What they neglect to tell you about the watercraft is that they are DREDGES causing the deaths not recreational performance boating or speed. If you are a boater of anykind please join Standing Watch and help protect your boating rights throuout Florida , next it will be in your backyard trying to save the walking catfish which has nothing to do with boating. Thx......Craig


ps.... Its funny they didnt want to come to Jacksonville and hold a meeting but they want to restrict are boating area's, It might be because Jacksonville University has the truths of the manatees and they dont want to get blasted....

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Old 01-30-2003, 07:33 PM
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