Florida county to rewrite manatee ordinances

BRADENTON, Fla. – Manatee County commissioners will attempt to rewrite a local manatee-protection ordinance that Florida regulators called “seriously flawed” a month ago, according to a story in today’s Bradenton Herald.

The commissioners intend to keep safeguards in place that protect manatees, such as slow-speed zones and no-entry areas but want to separate them from other codes that regulate shoreline erosion and noise abatement, the Herald story said.

“We are not re-opening the whole discussion of manatee protection locally,” Bill Clague, a Manatee County attorney, told the Herald. “Simply, we are separating it into two ordinances.”

The separation is said to be a move by the commissioners to distance themselves from state and federal government attempts to regulate manatee waters, according to the story.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has almost completely halted all new dock, seawall and other marine-based construction projects in Manatee County, rejecting 153 applications since May, the Herald said.

Manatee officials passed an ordinance last October that slowed boats in many areas favored by the manatees, while still allowing recreation in other popular areas. But the county learned the state conservation commission would likely reject the ordinance unless amended, according to the story.

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