Pinellas County Commissioners; Jacksonville Dist. Corps of Engineers; Florida DEP
United States of America

The proposed mooring field would violate Florida Aquatic Preserves Act as it relates to 1) the right of the public to enjoy the traditional recreational uses of waterways for swimming, boating, and fishing; 2) the need to discourage activities which would degrade the aesthetic, biological, or scientific values, or the quality, or utility of a preserve and 3) the need to preserve submerged grasses, mud flats, estuarine, aquatic and marine reptiles, game and non-game fish species, invertebrates, mammals, birds, shellfish and mollusks.

The mooring field will impede free navigation of the bay for boating and fishing. It will affect the safety of manatees, dolphins, fish, and water fowl that are seen routinely from our public beach. Fuel emissions from 100 vessels would make the bay unswimmable for Gulfport citizens and visitors in addition to having a negative impact on marine life.

The Florida Aquatic Preserves Act also requires a minimum clearance of three feet at mean low tide for any revenue generating docking or anchorage facilities. Navigational charts show mean low tide at six feet. Many 35-45 foot yachts require deeper water, yet the proposed size limit is 45 feet.

The Harbor Master’s plan includes sample agreements for 72 hours and 30 days (renewable). All the slips could be designated for permanent storage. There would be ten times the number of boats off our public beach than there were in 2005 when derelict boats were a problem and a mooring field was proposed as a solution. The problem was resolved the next year with the passage of H.B. 7175.

City staff estimate that the mooring field will cost $241,000 to build, and, if it generates revenues of $250,000 a year, the return on investment would take ten years. The full costs of the mooring field are under-estimated and the returns are over-estimated. Tax revenues have declined due to Amendment 1 and recent downturns in the economy that have led to lower property values. Gulfport has reduced library hours and transportation for seniors and has increased user fees. The rising cost of fuel will impact recreational boating. Gulfport is taking an enormous risk for an uncertain pay-off.

The detriments in terms of economics, aesthetics, environment, navigation, recreation, water quality, and safety outweigh any benefits of the proposed mooring field. For these reasons, we are asking that the applications for the proposed mooring field in Gulfport be denied.

We, the undersigned residents and visitors of Pinellas County, oppose the City of Gulfport's proposed 100-slip mooring field in the vicinity of the city's only public beach as outlined in the following applications and the Harbor Master’s plan: Pinellas County Board of Commissioners #CC38505-07/Revised; Jacksonville District Corps of Engineers # SAJ-2007-4697; Florida Department of Environmental Protection #52-0153995-003.

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The Oppose Mooring Field in Gulfport Florida petition to Pinellas County Commissioners; Jacksonville Dist. Corps of Engineers; Florida DEP was written by Jennifer Salmon and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.