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A few weeks ago the Fish and Wildlife Commission held two meetings for the purpose of public input regarding relaxation of speed limits for river boaters during flood stage. One meeting targeted the Suwannee River and the other the Santa Fe River. At that time the public was informed that the plan was to allow one more foot of river height before the “no wake” regulations were put into effect, and that these rules would be finalized at three consecutive WFC meetings in Sarasota near the end of June, and these meetings were not for public input.
OSFR attended both meetings and became concerned with the small sampling of public opinion, and also found the the public was essentially unanimous in its desire to tighten speed restrictions for boaters instead of loosening them. This situation was described in a post on this website. Subsequently, OSFR president Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson began writing letters to express our organization’s viewpoint, with the happy results seen in this following email which was distributed yesterday, May 12, 2015.
Although it is important to note that no promises are made here, and also some questions which our president asked were not answered, OSFR is pleased to see a public agency which is responsive to the needs of the public it serves, and commends the FWC for its actions. This is a good lesson for us and is its own reward for those who took the trouble to attend a meeting and express their thoughts.
Dear Meeting Attendee,
Thank you for participating in the public meeting FWC held on April 29, 2015. During the meeting FWC staff proposed several changes to the rules that regulate the Santa FeRiver. After the FWC staff presented the proposed rule changes the public was invited to comment on the proposed changes.
Upon review of the comments submitted during the meeting, FWC staff has decided that more input on this matter may be beneficial in deciding the most appropriate action to be taken on the rule changes affecting flood levels on the Santa Fe River and explaining the rationale and legal limitations to the public.
In light of this decision, FWC will NOT be presenting the rule change at the Sarasota Commission meeting in June.
It is FWC’s intention to hold another public meeting on this issue before taking the Santa Fe rule changes to rulemaking.
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Captain, Waterway Management
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Division of Law Enforcement
620 S. Meridian St.