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Tampa Bay Restrictions !!!! Not Good ...

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Old 04-15-2004, 08:42 AM
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Default Tampa Bay Restrictions !!!! Not Good ...

TALLAHASSEE - State wildlife commissioners on Wednesday tentatively approved new restrictions around Tampa Bay designed to protect manatees and lift a federal freeze on new docks.

The new boating restrictions in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee counties would not take effect until after two public hearings this summer and another vote by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission this fall.

In Pinellas, the new rules would establish a slow-speed zone near Safety Harbor from April 1 to Nov. 15, running from Courtney Campbell Parkway to the shoreline of Oldsmar.

Hillsborough would have a similar seasonal slow-speed zone along the northern edge of Courtney Campbell Parkway, while from Rocky Point south to the Gandy Bridge would be slow speed year-round.

In Apollo Beach the state would require a mix of slow speed and idle speed south of the Tampa Electric Co. power plant, and most of the Little Manatee River would be classified a 25-mph zone, with a slow-speed area near the river's mouth.

In Manatee County, the state is considering a variety of new zones, including a controversial slow-speed zone in the Braden River and a 500-foot-wide slow-speed zone on both sides of the Manatee River.

Not even the wildlife commissioners who voted for them are sure the Tampa Bay area needs boating restrictions. Aerial surveys of Tampa Bay have shown about 300 manatees living there year-round, with another 100 or so showing up in winter to huddle in the warm discharges around the area's power plants.

"The herd was doing pretty good," said Commissioner David Meehan of St. Petersburg.

Between 1976 and 2003, boats killed 68 manatees in Tampa Bay, nearly all of them in the past dozen years. Since 1990 the number of deaths in Tampa Bay attributed to boats has risen by more than 12 percent a year, a higher percentage than the manatee population's growth rate and higher than the increase in deaths from other causes, said Kipp Frohlich of the wildlife commission staff.

"Statistics, statistics," said Commissioner Richard Corbett of Tampa. "Frankly, in due deference to the staff, there are a lot of people who feel there are way too many manatees."

But federal officials are holding up permits for new docks in areas where they think manatees are not adequately protected. Those areas of inadequate protection include the shoreline of Old Tampa Bay in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, as well as much of Manatee County. Federal wildlife officials say they are bound by a law that forbids harming a single manatee.

The permitting freeze has stymied home builders such as Michael Willenbacher of Rottlund Homes, whose company has spent $4-million building a waterfront townhome project in Hillsborough but cannot build 64 docks the company says are needed to attract buyers.

The freeze has Manatee County officials so upset they asked U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Sarasota, to convene a meeting with federal wildlife officials in Washington, D.C., last month. But the freeze remains until new manatee measures are in place.

"The feds are holding this over our heads to bring the counties to the table," said Commission Chairman Rodney Barreto, and "developers are beating down my door" to fix the problem.

Commission staffers said they hope to hold two public hearings, one in Tampa and one in Bradenton, sometime in June. Then the commission would vote on the new rules in September.

A committee last year reviewed a previous set of proposed rules for Tampa Bay and, after a raucous public hearing that drew 300 angry people, voted to recommend against nearly all of them.


Here's the link:

http://www.sptimes.com/2004/04/15/Ta...ions_win.shtml
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Old 04-15-2004, 08:46 AM
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This is definitley serious. I am sure the entire OPBA will be at these meetings. Somehow, the state has to come up with a way to prevent the Feds from blackmailing us on an issue that has yet to been proven correct. Folks, this is an all out "call to arms". I know I'll be there, and I'm loud.
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Old 04-15-2004, 08:47 AM
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The speed zones shouldn't affect boaters a lot. Most of that water from the Courtney Cambell to Oldsmar is about 10 inches deep.
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Old 04-15-2004, 08:50 AM
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Cuda, you're right but it's the old addage, give'm an inch and they'll take a mile. If this is successful, it'll only be a start. They're trying to make the entire Intracoastal from the north Siesta Key Bridge all the way to the Venice Jetties a minimum wake zone down here. That would make it amost a 2 hour trip. This is war.
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Old 04-15-2004, 08:59 AM
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The same thing happened in Brevard Cty. I now have a one (1) hour idle to get out of the Manatee Zones, and they are not done yet! They keep adding more signs and increasing the zones. You can't go out without seeing Manatee now. The population seems to be out of control, but there is never enough Manatee for the CLUB. I suggest that you guys on the West coast get organized and deal with this, once they put in the zones you will live with them (and more) forever.

This SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 04-15-2004, 09:00 AM
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This is the beginning. We all knew it was coming.

Regardless of the navigability of the waters in question, we must band together to halt this nonsense. If nothing else, the dockbuilding must continue. It's vital to the local economy.

It starts slow, mostly unnoticible moves by manatee freaks, then they take more and more.

I encourage everyone in the area to attend any and all meetings and let your opinions be heard.
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Old 04-15-2004, 09:19 AM
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I agree that it needs to be stopped. Who makes the decision to trade dock permits for speed zones? It seems one has nothing to do with the other, as pointed out, it's blackmail.
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Old 04-15-2004, 10:40 AM
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Well I guess it's not so bad NOT living in the year round boating state of Florida after all. You figure you spend half that year in the no-wake zone....

Hey maybe the good news is the insurance rates could drop based on the increased "trolling" time...
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Old 04-15-2004, 11:26 AM
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Dumb asses thay are, manatee death rate up since boating popularity, also they didn't relate to how many were killed by fising nets and such just boats asses need a good ***** slappin.
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Old 04-15-2004, 11:52 AM
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Public meetings, outcries whatever. Nothing matters this is not a democratic process. The Mana nazi Club has the power and now docks are the barganing chip.
No speed zones- no docks!
This has to change or we'll all have to add trolling motors as an option.
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