Hernando Chapter Policy Update

Hernando Chapter sent out their June newsletter today and included this excellent local policy update.

The Hernando Chapter FNPS will weigh in on local issues when they are directly related to our mission (Preserving, conserving and restoring the native plants and native plant communities of Florida). We are fortunate that our Conservation Chair, Gene Kelly, closely follows local issues and helps us take meaningful action. Our Chapter has taken a formal stand on the issues that follow, often in stride with partner organizations.
  1. Hernando County is currently strengthening its fertilizer ordinance, and the BCC unanimously approved amended ordinance language at their May 27 meeting. It is critical that the county gets the job done before July 1; a very bad law prohibiting adoption/amendment of local fertilizer ordinances goes into effect on that date (if the Governor does not veto it, which we hope he will).
    The good news is that Hernando’s ordinance (assuming it receives final approval before July 1) will add a rainy season ban on fertilizer applications; will not exempt commercial applicators (a BIG step forward); and will require a 25 foot minimum buffer along shorelines. Our requested provision requiring slow-release nitrogen was not included at this time – it was felt that additional changes may delay final approval given public notice requirements and the need to go through two regular public meetings before July 1.
  2. Weeki Wachee River Spring Protection Zone (SPZ). Gene Kelly represented FNPS at the FWC meeting in Miami to support designation of the Spring Protection Zone. Hernando County had proposed a SPZ encompassing the 2.3-mile section of river between the State Park and Rogers Park; FWC staff had countered with a proposal limiting protection to 20 point bars. At the Miami meeting, County Administrator Jeff Rogers spoke, as did 5 others, all in support of the original county proposal. Most of the Commissioners seemed to agree with our arguments. The FWC Commissioners directed staff to amend their rule language to satisfy the concerns expressed – an amended version will presumably be presented at their next meeting July 19-20. The meeting is probably going to be conducted in St Pete and it would be helpful to have members carpool down to attend and speak in support.
  3. Recreational Development in Weekiwachee Preserve. The Hernando Chapter FNPS continues to oppose the County proposal to create a beach and swimming area in one of the mine pits.


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