By LISA MACNEIL
Now waiting on Governor Ron DeSantis’ signature, the respective Florida House and Senate bills have passed to establish an offshore area from Anclote to Yankeetown as an Aquatic Preserve.
The bills were introduced earlier this year by Rep. Massulo (R - Lecanto), who sponsored the bill in the House, while Senator Albritton (R - Bartow) sponsored on the senate side. At a Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting in February, the commissioners expressed concern that the language of the bill could affect areas such as the residential canals of Hernando Beach, as well as affect coastal projects already approved or underway.
With the language amended to exclude these areas and projects, the bill was passed in both the House and the Senate and is awaiting DeSantis’ approval.
Commissioner John Allocco told The Hernando Sun, “I am pleased that an amendment was added to ensure that previously approved projects related to the Restore Fund would still move forward. We are blessed to have the best seagrass beds in Florida and among the best in the world WITHOUT having been part of the Aquatic Preserve. There is always concern when government grows, I just hope that this addition of Hernando County to the preserve demonstrates a positive impact in the long run for our coastal environments.”
The full text of the Senate bill can be found here: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2020/1042/BillText/Filed/HTML