Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tampa Bay Times blows it - Takes dumb position on Amendment 1


The Tampa Bay Times has recommended against Florida residents voting in favor of Amendment 1, an opportunity voters will have to assure funding is available for environmental protection for the next 20 years.
What are they thinking!!
They said the constitution is no place to house funding options that are more appropriately that of the legislature and governor.
TBT apparently has not been listening to itself over the last three-plus years as Craig Pittman and others have described time and again how T-Town’s tea-bagging conservatives gutted and dismantled over 40 years of carefully developed environmental protections which, by the paper’s own claims, are crucial to the state’s economic future.
The editorial published in Sunday’s edition correctly identifies the public’s frustration with Tallahassee’s pathetic attempts to declare its concerns for all things environmental while systematically destroying the state’s ability to protect its crucial natural systems. It is no less than stunning that the paper has somehow forgotten that this legislature and governor halted environmental land acquisition, decimated the environmental protective capacities of Florida’s primary agencies responsible for protecting the environment – the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the five water management districts - and blatantly caters to the moneyed demands of special interests.
TBT has gotten so wrapped up in some archaic narrow-principled idea of proper government it has forgotten why the constitutional amendment process exists in the first place.  For one thing, instead of frustrated people taking up sticks and stones against bad government, Florida allows its citizens to use the power of their right to vote to amend the constitution by referendum, and send a very clear and strong personal message to the People’s representatives that Tallahassee’s insulated governor and legislators are not properly representing the People’s interests.  This amendment is a way of sending them to the corner for a 20-year “time-out,” at least as it relates to taking care of Florida’s unique natural environment.  Amendment 1 is appropriate and badly needed, and it involves no sticks or stones.
TBT also points out, incredibly, that the Amendment is somehow flawed because it could lead to further legislative game-playing and funding skullduggery.  This is exactly why the People are forcing the issue and telling Tallahassee they’ve had enough such political nonsense.  How can it be worse than what this governor and legislature have already done?
Amendment 1 is a message that, if ignored, Tallahassee does so at its own political risk. The People should not listen to the Tampa Bay Times.   They should vote for Amendment 1.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Clean Water Act rules under attack by Farm Bureau and Fla. Cong. Steve Southerland

In a media release this morning, the Florida Conservation Coalition declared certain factions in Washington are trying to weaken federal clean water rules in a way that will have a negative impact on Florida’s waters.

It hasn’t been enough that our inept governor has already castrated the water management districts by firing their scientists, slashing their budgets, and reversing their regulatory mission from protection to serving special interests.  Now, one of those special interests, the Farm Bureau, an insurance company turned Big Ag advocate, and other industry groups, are trying to do the same thing to the regulatory authority of EPA at the federal level with the help of Florida Panhandle Republican Congressman Steve Southerland.

The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) is composed of over 50 conservation organizations and thousands of individuals devoted to protecting and conserving Florida’s land, wildlife and water resources. The first priority of the Coalition is to protect and preserve Florida’s waters.”

The Coalition is encouraging Floridians who value healthy wetlands and a strong economy to express their opinion of H.R. 5078 to their congressman.

Here’s the Coalition’s media release in full:

Florida Conservation Coalition Calls on Public
 to Support Clean Water Act Rules

Congressman Southerland’s Bill, H.R. 5078, Muddies the Water
In the face of attacks by the Florida Farm Bureau and a narrow group of elected officials, the Florida Conservation Coalition calls on the citizens of Florida to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to protect Florida’s water resources.
The Clean Water Act prevents activities that would harm the nation’s rivers,
streams, lakes, wetlands and coastal waters. As required by the Act, EPA regulations protect water quality, help to prevent flooding and limit the impact of droughts. However, federal court decisions have made it essential that the EPA clarify which waters must be protected. 
Legislation proposed by Congressman Steve Southerland and supported today by the Florida Department of Agriculture, the Farm Bureau and other industry groups would prohibit adoption of an important new rule being proposed by EPA in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide this clarity. The legislation would also shut down the public comment process, denying the public the opportunity to voice its position on the proposed rule.
This effort by Representative Southerland and others to keep the Clean Water Act rules muddy is not in Florida’s best interest. Clarifying that streams and their wetlands are protected but uplands are not regulated brings certainty to landowners and assures protection of Florida’s most important natural resources.

The proposed rule actually excludes regulation of most dry ditches, the subject of the Farm Bureau’s objections. All historical exclusions and exemptions for agriculture are preserved, and the proposed rule provides exemptions for many farming, timber and other land-use activities. 

“Southerland’s legislation is a misguided reaction to the proposed rule.  This legislation intervenes in the middle of the public commenting process and raises suspicion that the industry groups demonstrating today do not want to allow citizens to voice their support of our natural resources. Clean water depends on clear standards,” said Vicki Tschinkel of the Florida Conservation Coalition and former Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  
It is especially important that Floridians support EPA’s efforts to protect wetlands which are an integral part of many Florida waterbodies. They are essential to human life in Florida, providing safe drinking water, flood protection for our homes and roads, and our food supply.  In addition, wetlands are vital to the health of Florida’s waters; to wildlife which depend on them for food and habitat; and to our fisherman, tourists and all citizens who depend on the productivity of our estuaries, Atlantic and Gulf.  There is nothing more central to Florida’s economy than the health of our water resources.
Despite the political fracas created by the Farm Bureau, EPA’s proposed rule does not increase or decrease regulation of farming or other activities. The rule simply makes clear the boundaries between flowing waters, wetlands and uplands.
“We are puzzled by the fierce reaction against something that only seeks to provide needed clarity to the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule does not regulate any new types of waters that have not historically been covered under the Act.  Clarity of these regulations is desperately needed to protect our precious, yet deteriorating waters and to stop endless litigation,” said Tschinkel.

 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Scott - desperate for environmental love


Please read this Ocala Star Banner article: Florida Governor pledges major spending on environment .
Okay, thanks.  So, what do you think about it?
If you think that because of this announcement Rick Scott has seen the light and has become a virtuous soul of piously good environmental intent, you should read the rest of this … and then go see your therapist.
  • Scott’s announcement is a desperate, insensitive, disingenuous ploy by a weak re-election campaign to grab reluctant support from an environmental community he has callously disregarded for the last four years … and which he is only now realizing was a very significant political mistake.  It is such a complete reversal of his positions for the last four years, his credibility should now be as embarrassing to his supporters as it is a joke to the environmentalists he disparaged so vehemently.
  • $500 million for new water supplies?  If Florida is going to continue to have an economy at all, it must have more new water if enough cannot be conserved to meet the expected demand.  So, this could be a signal that conservation is going to be given a back seat.  If so, where are the new supplies going to come from?  In terms of the state’s projected needs, groundwater is not the answer.  More pumping is going to require many MFL’s (Minimum Flows and Levels) to be exceeded, more lost wetlands, impacts on springs, rivers, lakes, salt intrusion, etc.  If it’s from surface bodies, there’s not even a handful of rivers that might not be significantly impacted by large diversions.  Large diversions are only feasible on flashy rivers, like the Peace, that have huge “excess” flows on few occasions annually that can be effectively captured and stored.  The main body of most rivers’ flows cannot be impacted without commensurate impacts to all else that depend upon their continuous historic average flows.  Desalination?  Not even in the conversation.  And, where and for what purpose will this new water be used? Mining, power, big agriculture, “planned communities” that really aren’t? Finally, who’s going to receive the money to build the production, treatment and delivery systems?  The private sector?  That’s just transfer of more public wealth from working taxpayers to the pockets of special interests. Seems that’s what Tallahassee is all about anymore. If he lays $500 million on the table, it’ll be like the California gold rush to grab the last cheap water before someone else does.  MFL’s and the environment will be damned and you and I will pay for it.
  • $500 million for springs protection?  That just means a whole lot more waste water treatment plants, a good thing for certain if it’s truly and only to get the nitrate production out of the springsheds.  But what if it’s a ruse just to have you and me pay agriculture to clean up their messes.  More “big ag” welfare?  Aren’t they subsidized enough?  New waste treatment plants?  For whom?  Use to be when a developer wanted to build a community, the cost of water production and waste treatment had to be covered by the developer and recovered from the folks buying the rooftops, even when the money went to the local government to build the facilities - a user-pay thing.  Is Scott now proposing to help out a lot of developers under the guise of protecting springs? Certainly could be. It is completely consistent with his actions so far and highly doubtful the man could change his colors so fast. His disparagement of natural Florida's economic and aesthetic values has been so systemic and complete within Florida government the damage will be lasting for many years.  No, strongly suspect subterfuge here.
  • Regarding Amendment #1 - Placing this Nouveau Scott plan on the table now will give strength to the argument that this is how we need to pay for environmental protection and preservation, and why Amendment 1 is not needed.  The timing and inexplicable reversal of it smells an awful lot like a Trojan Horse.  Do we want to just forget how the environment has been subjected to the whims of a thoroughly (and embarrassingly) anti-environmental legislative and gubernatorial sentiment for the last four years and why the Amendment is needed to overcome the annual unpredictable whims of the legislature?  No we will not, but watch for the anti-amendment legislators to scurry out from under the baseboards on this.  Do not buy this Trojan ruse.
    This would be condos were it not in public ownership.
  • $150 million for Florida Forever?  If it’s not guaranteed by a constitutional amendment for certain purposes, rest assured it’ll be spent in ways that favor special interests and not the environment, e.g., subject to utility and roadway easements, not with mineral rights reserved, not for connecting wildlife corridors, not for protecting and preserving remote environmentally unique areas, not to prevent destructive private leasing, not limited to passive public uses ... and billboards will be allowed in the swamps.  Scott has spent the last four years weakening the protections our public dollars have bought and placed upon public lands.  Why should we think he’s going to do any different with any new lands bought under this guise?
  • Finally, increased regulatory scrutiny of permit holders is going to require a huge, really huge, shift in the anti-regulation culture Scott, Vinyard and Jeff Littlejohn have so meticulously constructed in place of the “pro” culture they destroyed.  It represents a stark and unbelievable 180 degree reversal of a major campaign platform.  Can we actually believe there is even an ounce of sincerity in this man and the army of anti-environmental minions he has strategically positioned within his administration?  Where from and how did they come upon this near-religious revelation?  Are we simply going to let them say, The devil made us do it, and thank them for their service?  I don’t buy it and you shouldn’t either.  The last four years have been a disastrous reality for natural Florida, much worse than just a bad dream from which we can now awaken.  If we believe this man now, it’ll just be four more years of that same horrid destructive reality.
Carl Hiaasen wrote today about Rick Scott’s credibility and where he might hang the head of the deer he killed at King Ranch recently, “The bathroom wall would be a fitting place, hanging right over the toilet where he flushed his integrity.”
Yes.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Former SWFWMD Land Acquisition manager and expert, Fritz Musselmann, says County plans for Weeki Wachee Preserve are not appropriate.


Fritz Musselmann worked for the district acquiring environmentally sensitive lands totalling some 435,000 acres for nearly 40 years.  Much of that land was purchased with funds provided under such statutorily-mandated programs as Save Our Rivers, Preservation 2000 and Florida Forever.  The last two programs, Preservation 2000 and Florida Forever, were approved by a majority of Florida voters.  Funds came not from sales or property taxes but documentary stamp taxes generated primarily from private land transactions involving recently-arrived buyers establishing residence in their new home state.  This supports the concept that growth in the form of new residents should help pay for the increasing need to preserve at least a part of natural Florida for the future. 

In an email to the Hernando County Commission sent Sunday, July 6, 2014, Musselmann wrote: 

”Unless the laws, rules, regulations, policies and procedures governing SWFWMD have dramatically changed since the acquisition of the Weeki Wachee Preserve, the proposed "Nature Coast Educational Plaza" including its various components are without a doubt incompatible with the purposes for which the lands were acquired and the "passive" uses recommended for such properties.” 

Here’s his email in full: 

Dear Commissioners and Staff: 

My name is Fritz Musselmann, I retired from the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD)in December 2008. During my tenure at SWFWMD (March 1975 to December 2008) I worked in the Land Resources Department and in July of 1982, I was selected as the Director of that department. In a nutshell, I was responsible for providing direction and oversight to the department which was responsible for Land Acquisition, Land Management, Land Use and Land Surveying services for the sixteen county jurisdiction covered by SWFWMD.  

On behalf of the Governing Board and taxpayers of the SWFWMD my staff and I negotiated, acquired and managed some 435,000 acres throughout the region including the properties referred to as the Weeki Wachee Preserve, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Bayport, etc. At the time the Preserve and Springs were acquired, Hernando County was very supportive and appeared to understand the notion that these properties were acquired to protect some of "Hernando County's most fragile natural resources". Resources that hopefully will be left intact for future generations of Hernando County residents and visitors to enjoy. 

It is obvious that Weeki Wachee Springs, Weeki Wachee River and Weeki Wachee Preserve are collectively the number one recreational/cultural venue for residents of and visitors to Hernando County. Unless the laws, rules, regulations, policies and procedures governing SWFWMD have dramatically changed since the acquisition of the Weeki Wachee Preserve, the proposed "Nature Coast Educational Plaza" including its various components are without a doubt incompatible with the purposes for which the lands were acquired and the "passive" uses recommended for such properties.  

It is difficult at best to truly understand what the County wants to build in the Weeki Wachee Preserve or for that matter, anywhere. A flyer I received from County Staff describes the "Nature Coast Educational Plaza" as a "Tourist Welcome Center, Educational Nature Center, Nature Museum/Conference Center/Auditorium including several hundred parking spaces, Plaza Grounds for holding large events such as tournaments and festivals, a beach and associated amenities". These proposed intrusive uses appear to also conflict with what many of us thought the "Nature Coast Experience" was intended to represent. Environmentally responsible entities build facilities such as those proposed by the County on the periphery of Preserves so as not to impinge upon the purposes for which the lands were acquired, core habitat and in this case an established wildlife corridor. Better yet, such a facility should probably be built on a major thoroughfare thereby providing visibility and access to more potential visitors. If you are trying to market the "Nature Coast Experience" you shouldn't compromise it by building in the Preserve.  

In 1997 consistent with building facilities on the periphery of conservation lands such as the the Weeki Wachee Preserve and in recognition of Hernando County's need for additional swimming opportunities, the SWFWMD as part of its "Plan for the Use and Management of the Weeki Wachee Preserve" and in coordination with the County, identified a site for a beach, swimming and picnicking area in the northwest corner of the lake complex adjacent to Shoal Line Boulevard. It was estimated that the site would double the County's existing capacity for swimming opportunities but the Board of County Commissioners did not have the political will to develop the site. If the County Commission wants to utilize this site and do the right thing, you will need to have the political will to develop and construct roadway and other necessary infrastructure improvements along Shoal Line Boulevard to accommodate traffic safety and the site.  

I have heard from County Staff the notion that building the "Nature Coast Educational Plaza" in the Weeki Wachee Preserve will somehow relieve some of the visitor volume pressures at the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and on the Weeki Wachee River. This is at best, nothing more than deferred political will. A number of years ago in response to community concerns about issues regarding the Weeki Wachhee River System, Hernando County had the vision to create the "Weekiwachee Eco-System Task Force". The mission of the Task Force which included representatives from local organizations, businesses, government agencies and residents from the community was "to preserve and prevent further deterioration of the Weeki Wachee River eco-system by identifying the issues impacting this system and to provide proactive and preventative solutions". If you truly want to maintain and protect the "Nature Coast Experience" for future generations you will find the political will to read, consider and adopt the recommendations in that report. Regardless of the Weeki Wachee Preserve, Weeki Wachee Springs and the river will likely always receive the highest user volume. After all, Weeki Wachee Springs (one of only 33 first magnitude springs)and the Mermaids are recognized worldwide. The Park is simply an iconic landmark.  

While I understand the County's desire to market the Nature Coast, I do not believe adequate attention has been given to the County's existing parks and associated facilities. I am aware of the necessary cuts in staff and services that local governments and state agencies had to endure during the recession. Much of the short and long-term maintenance of government facilities including park facilities was deferred. Only recently, did the Hernando County Property Appraiser announce that the County's tax base was finally starting to turn around. From a private business planning standpoint one would ask what the cumulative deferred maintenance costs and staffing needs will be on existing facilities before taking on more capital, maintenance and staffing costs for a new facility. Maybe the County has considered this but it was not evident when questions were raised in the two public hearings or in any discussions I have been involved in. 

If for example you want to "market" Pine Island Beach to be inviting to new visitors to the County, you should rethink the 23 signs of varying colors, shapes and sizes (ten at the entrance and thirteen just inside the entrance)advising visitors of what they can and cannot do. It is the epitome of sign blight. While I understand the need for the messages in those signs, there is no staff on-site to enforce the rules/regulations nor are there any lifeguards. It appears that since the cuts caused by the recession there is still little if any staff on-site at any of the existing County Parks which begs the question relative to staffing the Nature Coast Educational Plaza. In the two public hearings it was mentioned that there would be lifeguards on site which would be appropriate but contrary to the County's current practices at all of its other swimming venues. You must have the political will to adequately fund and staff your existing parks and NO, trying to spread existing staff to the proposed "Nature Coast Educational Plaza" will simply defer the inevitable and stretch staff resources beyond their ability to meet the real needs of visitors to the County and your voting constituents. 

I am hopeful based on the public input you received at the two public hearings as well as other input and observations that you will find a way to locate the "Nature Coast Educational Plaza" at an alternative site as well as remove any other proposed uses from the core or center of the established wildlife corridor. As well, if your primary unspoken goal is to market the unique attributes of the nature coast including its natural and cultural resources to increase jobs, visitor tax revenues and motel/hotel bed taxes, a more responsible, well-thought-out approach should be taken. You can start with a more professional and inviting sign at Pine Island Beach. 

Respectfully Submitted,
 
Fritz Musselmann
Spring Hill, Florida

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Weeki Wachee Preserve – Let people enjoy, not exploit


The Hernando Board of County Commissioners is proposing to build a major recreational facility inside the confines of 11,206 acres purchased (using Florida Forever funds) to preserve the very significant environmental values of the property, now known as the Weeki Wachee Preserve.  This is a letter to the County Administrator, Len Sossamon, suggesting otherwise and setting forth the reasons why.   

June 16, 2014; 3:35 p.m.
 
Len,  

I’m sorry we haven’t had the opportunity to chat about the Weeki Wachee Preserve but having read Friday’s paper about the hearing and what’s being proposed, I believe maybe it’s time to offer a few thoughts.  I also appreciate the information about the project received from Ginger Singer. 

I can understand why the Preserve might seem attractive as a location for a facility that Hernando County could use to foster the recovery of its long-hurting economy; spacious, open water and accessible, albeit a bit remote.  But understand, the property has a history directly related to the state’s long and nationally recognized program to protect its unique natural systems from the inevitable impacts of Florida’s growing reputation as a global destination.  Everyone wants sustained economic viability, people world-wide want to live here, and most folks already here want a real balance to be found between the loss of natural habitat that comes with all that “love” and the critical need to protect it. The growing realization, in any case, is that there is the very real possibility if we do not preserve a large part of what’s left of Florida’s natural habitat, we will exploit it and use it until it is destroyed, and the very reasons why Florida has become a global destination in the first place will be destroyed along with it.  I’m reminded of the “Tragedy of the Commons” and the phrase, “death by a thousand cuts”, further defined by Wikipedia as,  “the way a major negative change, which happens slowly in many unnoticed increments, is not perceived as objectionable. 

Some of us who are recent arrivals to the state (and I am not referring to you personally) simply may not appreciate all the lessons learned from the past and the cost and sacrifice that previous and current residents have suffered to implement the state’s environmental protection programs that have been carefully evolved over the last 50 years.  It has been a tough and continuous struggle to educate people and raise their appreciation for natural Florida and its importance to the State’s economic future.  Not all land in its natural state, or property that hosts environmentally significant flora and/or fauna, for example, should be considered appropriate for a public facility just because it’s already owned by the public, it’s beautiful, and it’s environmentally bountiful.  In Florida, public education is ephemeral.  Our population is always moving on or dying and being replaced by newcomers.  Thus, maintaining effective appreciation for hard lessons learned is difficult.  It is an unfortunate reality about Florida that its demography is continuously renewing and changing while the importance of Florida’s environment to its economic future is not. 

The 11,206-acre Weekiwachee Preserve was purchased by the Southwest Florida Water Management District in 1995 from W. L. Cobb Construction Company for $15.1 million.  Six years later in 2001 while I was executive director at the district, the property surrounding Weeki Wachee Springs was purchased from the City of St. Petersburg.  (For years, ownership of the Springs by St. Pete was a very sore bone of contention for the residents of Hernando County because the City had acquired it in the 1930’s as a potential water supply source.)  The Springs parcel of about 400 acres was purchased for around $16 million as part of then-Governor Bush’s “Springs Initiative” using funds from the State’s Florida Forever program, if my memory serves accurately.  Today, the acquisition remains an important component of the state’s strategy to acquire, restore, and protect Florida’s inventory of iconic springs, which are not duplicated in such concentration anywhere else in the world.  Florida’s springs are part of its globally unique natural heritage much as the Grand Canyon is for Arizona. 

The Preserve property was purchased as part of a regional system of conservation lands that extend up to Crystal River Buffer Preserve, including the southernmost coastal hardwood hammocks in western Florida. It provides a rich collage of habitats including several miles of Weeki Wachee River frontage, portions of Mud River, dense hardwood swamps, freshwater and saltwater marshes, and pine-covered sand hills. Part of why the acquisition was so important was also because it would help in preventing further degradation of the groundwater flowing to Weeki Wachee Springs and because the area and its habitat is well known for its black bear population.   

With the planned new construction at the Preserve consisting of added restroom facilities at each of four new parking lots with spaces for 400 cars, and an expected usage rate of over a thousand people per day (based upon 1,240 people in the swimming area per day on average and 528 people on average using the beach/sand area), the project plan, in my opinion, appears, without substantial revision, to be inconsistent with the original purposes for acquiring the property and designating it a Preserve.  If the project is ultimately approved as planned, it would also imply that all the concerns expressed in the media by the public and legislature recently over restoring and protecting Florida’s springs is somehow invalid.  As you are aware, there is a growing body of empirical evidence that strongly suggests otherwise. 

While I was at the district, we understood the responsibility and necessity to allow public enjoyment of these unique properties for what they are, without allowing the land to be over utilized and thus changed from the very purposes for which they were purchased.  So, a careful plan for public access and use was developed for every property including the Weeki Wachee Preserve.  Therefore, I believe it is not public use, per se, that is causing the growing objections to the county’s conceptual proposal.  It is the concentration and intensity of the proposed use.  The main access road from Osowaw Boulevard, for example, is smack dab through the heart of the corridor black bears need for their normal foraging, ranging and maintenance of the specie.  Consequently, while the road may be marginally acceptable for maintenance purposes, it would not be acceptable as a main entrance with the anticipated heavy daily usage. 

I believe there may be ways for some degree of increased usage to be allowed in the lake area, but the fact remains it was purchased and established as a Preserve for very specific reasons, reasons that are more critical today than they ever were.  SWFWMD clearly has an obligation to insure that any proposed public uses fall within the constraints contained in the original state authorization to purchase the property using Florida Forever funds.  This proposal, as I understand it, may very well exceed those constraints.  It needs to be confirmed one way or the other. 

You may know that SWFWMD has partnered on several occasions with Hernando County to allow its residents access and use of district-owned public lands within the county such as Bayport Park and Weeki Wachee Springs StatePark.  It also instigated and funded through the now dismantled Coastal Rivers Basin Board of the District the location and construction of an Environmental Education Center on park land just west of the Weeki WacheeSprings on Bayport Road.  Points being, two environmental educational centers seem excessive for the actual use that can be expected so why not focus on the one that already exists, and, the District is always interested in working with local partners in a manner that is consistent with its statutory responsibilities. 

Finally, Len, it appears that the education and tourism aspects of the project are in name only.   From what I can tell (and my understanding of the project is admittedly limited), it will actually be just a very large recreational complex intended to bring such attendance to the venue that, in turn, jobs and economic development will be fostered on the western end of the county (which is not certain), and the reason it’s being proposed in the Preserve is because state funding is available, the land is cheap, i.e. free (if SWFWMD agrees) and it has water features.  These are not reasons enough in my opinion to forsake the original important purposes for which the land was acquired on behalf of Florida’s greater public, Florida’s natural environment and Florida’s long-term economic future. 

Consequently, I recommend the county seek to locate the project elsewhere or use the money to fund true economic development by making the funds available perhaps as seed money to develop and support new private business enterprises.  In that area on the coast, such enterprises might consist, for example, of aquaculture or some other coastal-oriented activity appropriate for private land uses and privately sponsored economic development. 

I appreciate the opportunity to share these thoughts. 

Respectfully,

Sonny