MIAMI – A Broward County manatee-protection plan has been rejected by Florida’s wildlife agency because it would allow the construction of thousands of new docks along waterways heavily used by the endangered marine mammals, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported in a story on its Web site today.
The decision is a blow to the area's boating industry because it means a three-year moratorium on the construction of docks, dry-stack marinas, boat ramps and other boating facilities will continue.
About 40 proposals for new marine construction have been held up throughout the county because of the moratorium, said Frank Herhold, executive director of the Marine Industry Association of South Florida.
"We're disappointed," Herhold told the newspaper.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told Broward County the plan was unacceptable and urged officials to find ways to reduce the number of collisions between manatees and boats.
Watercraft killed seven manatees in Broward last year, the highest number in at least 30 years, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Producing an acceptable plan is particularly difficult in Broward because manatees favor those waterways with the most potential for marine development. County officials have called a meeting for Thursday with representatives of the boating industry and environmental groups to discuss how to revise the plan.
The new plan, approved over the objections of environmentalists, would have allowed the construction of 6,972 new docks in the southern Broward areas targeted by the marine industry for growth.
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