Environmentalists Weary of Sea Grass Protection Bill

Florida waters are teeming with life and much of that can be found in underwater grasslands. A bill awaits approval by the FL Governor to protect those lands, but some environmentalists oppose it. Language in the bill has them worried that developers may find way around protected grass beds.

Some lawmakers disagree, including Representative Will Kendrick of District 10. He said throughout legislation, no one opposed the bill until now. He said it received approval from various agencies including the Florida Wildlife Commission and the Department of Environmental Protection.

"What this bill actually does, it gives the board of trustees the next authority if they choose to create what we call mitigation banks where people could actually use these to restore sea grasses and we think that's an important issue that needs to be addressed." said Kendrick.

Some environmentalists fear that a particular piece of language in the sea grass bill, CS/HB 7059, is too unclear. Some say it is vague in nature. The particular language pointed out by environmentalists states:

"The board of trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund may ensure the preservation and regeneration of sea grass, as defined in s.253.04(4)(a)2., by providing for the establishment of sea grass mitigation banks, pursuant to s.373.4136, to offset the unavoidable impacts of projects where such banks meet the applicable public interest test of chapters 253 and 258. This subsection shall not prohibit mitigation for impacts to sea grass or other habitats on sovereignty submerged lands for other types of projects, or for projects occurring on non-sovereign submerged lands, upon applicable approval of the board of trustees."

Jack Rudloe with the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab in Panacea said, "To private parties and to other people--it would enable them to dredge up sea grass beds and plant a few sprigs of grass around--a thing called mitigation and the grass will not live, it will die. And this bill gives developers the opportunity to do that."

The bill still awaits a signature from the governor, which, Representative Kendrick says at that time--the board of trustees can make rules to go along with the bill and those guidelines could further protect sea grass.

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  • by Florida Native Location: Florida on Jun 2, 2008 at 08:24 AM
    Rep. Kendrick is rude to citizens who disagree with him at any level. Citizens have been told to shut up when calling his office to voice concerns. Rude emails arrive from him when he is challenged on his ill thought out ideas. He fails to fails to perform his duty to citizens at an entry level of skill. A representative who fails to represent one and another is not doing their job of service to all people.
  • by Just like a turncoat! on May 22, 2008 at 01:05 PM
    I would not expect anything less from a turncoat like Will Kendrick. When this charleton tries to become superintedent of schools in Franklin, we will remember his deeds!
  • by Thank God Kendrick is Going Out of Office on May 22, 2008 at 11:01 AM
    That sounds like the corrupt Will Kendrick we have all known for some time now. Someone needs to follow the money trail, it will lead to someone's hip pocket!
  • by Amendment Location: Perry on May 21, 2008 at 08:58 PM
    The amendment Kendrick slipped in at the last minute is what folks are opposed to. Goodbye Kendrick, do not let the door hit you on the way out.
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