URGENT!!! Help us save Florida sea grass beds
September 30, 2014
Dear Friends of Florida's waters:
Your immediate help is needed to save several acres of grass beds in the Florida panhandle. Please read the attached letter and then send me a return email with permission to add your organization, business or individual name to the comment letter we are sending to the US Army Corps of Engineers. If you are in a hurry, you don't even have to read the rest of this email as the attached letter is self-explanatory. If you choose to skip on to the attachment from here, then thank you in advance for helping with this urgent request.
For a short synopsis and background on this issue . . . Florida Clean Water Network, Santa Rosa Sound Coalition and several other local groups and individuals have been working to protect the few remaining grass beds in the Pensacola Bay System for several decades. The project at hand was initiated almost 20 years ago and refuses to die. Even Bobby Cooley, former DEP NW District Director, told the applicants many years ago to stop wasting money on consultants as the project would never get permitted under Florida law. But like so many bad ideas, it was a matter of waiting for the right political stars to align.
At stake are grass beds in the Santa Rosa Sound, which contains most of the scarce remaining grass beds in the highly polluted, severely stressed Pensacola Bay System. In spite of their value to the ecosystem, Santa Rosa County has applied for a permit to dredge a 30' wide channel through healthy submerged grasses to accommodate approximately 25 home/boat owners located on a canal in a 50+ year-old neighborhood. Yes, having a deep-water channel to the Intercoastal waterway would likely make their lots more valuable down the road, but that hardly constitutes a "public interest or necessity".
Not surprisingly, Rick Scott's DEP has given this project a permit in spite of many, many deficiencies. Now it is up to the Corps of Engineers to say "yeah or nay." The attached letter articulates why the answer should continue to be NO!!! Thank you to Frances Dunham for her excellent work on this issue and especially this comment letter.
If the Corps should decide to allow the destruction of these grass beds, there will be a flood of applications across the panhandle and possibly the state, from other greedy people who want state and federal laws ignored for them also. Please help us!!! Let the Corps know that we value our grass beds and the service they provide to our waters and the marine life that they support. Let's speak loud and clear for our resources!!!
To sign on just reply to this email with the name of your organization, or business or individual self. Make sure you send your town or county. You can also forward this to others and ask for their support as well.
On behalf of all the scallops, crabs, fish, manatees, etc. that live in our grass beds across the state, thank you for taking the time to help!
Florida Clean Water Network
P.O. Box 5124
Navarre, FL 32566