Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Slips, Safe Manatees

On Tuesday, the Broward County Commission passed a plan that allows for the construction of 4,392 new boat slips. An earlier draft of the proposal called for 7,000 new slips to be built but was hotly contested by environmentalists hoping to limit the number of manatees in Broward that are killed by boats. The approved proposal marks a compromise between the boating industry and state wildlife officials.

The Broward plan greenlights the construction of storage units, parking spaces, and other boating facilities. It also mandates that 513 of the new slips be set aside for those who cannot afford private dock space. The County Commission instated additional means of protecting manatees including a fee increase for boaters that are caught speeding and the installation of speed-reduction signs that light up when manatees are present.

"Everybody understands this is a compromise plan," said Frank Herhold, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel. "We all hope it will stand the test of time."

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