June 6, 2006
The Marine Advisory Committee met on the above date with the following members present: Chairman Ken Johnson and members Dan Wakley, Jeff Marker, Pasco Gibson, and Robert Turpin. Also present were the County Administrator (Hunter Walker), Public Works Director (Avis Whitfield), County Engineer (Roger Blaylock), and Marine Extension Agent (Christina Verlinde). Chairman Johnson called the meeting to order at 5:00p.m.
Marker moved approval of the minutes from the April 4, 2006 meeting; Turpin seconded, and the vote carried unanimously. (4-0)
Florida Sea Grant Waterway Planning Process
Johnson said the Waterway Management Planning Workshop was very productive. He asked Verlinde to recap the workshop. Verlinde said the workshop was a Waterway Management 101. She said the county will utilize some of the Sea Grant work such as geo-coding to identify where boats are located. Verlinde said this will be done through
vessel registration. She said the county hopes to conduct boat ramp usage surveys by using paid student workers. Verlinde suggested doing a survey on Blue Angel weekend
and one on a slow weekend to gather peak and regular usage information of boat ramps. She said information will be obtained regarding boat ramp usage and where boaters are spending money.
Verlinde said goals and objectives will need to be set if the county decides to have a waterway study. She said there will be coordination with the Computer Department on GIS data obtained from vessel registration for geo-coding.
Turpin thanked Verlinde for keeping the workshop on track. He said the workshop was the first step to obtain information, and the committee now has the ability to move forward selecting good goals and objectives.
Johnson discussed the use of GIS to identify water depth and where boat owners are located. He said GIS can also be used to locate the best sites for future boat ramps and
Marker moved to use Boater Improvement funds to pay students who collect the boating data. Walker said Verlinde is working on a marine plan, and staff will work out the details. Marker withdrew the motion.
Turpin said there is a RFP (Request for Proposals) for the FBIP (Florida Boaters Improvement Program) derelict vessel fund. He said the RFP will be open until July 31, 2006. Walker said the county is trying to set up a process to handle derelict vessels. He asked Turpin to provide additional information to Sharon Marsh (Grants Coordinator). Johnson discussed some legislative changes regarding derelict vessels that become effective in July. He said he will provide the legislative provisions to Turpin. Johnson also discussed his ideas regarding the use of bridge and concrete debris in a productive manner as artificial reefs.
Marker discussed placing portable toilets at the busier boat ramps. He moved for the Marine Advisory Committee to identify the three busiest boat ramps and do a test project
with portable toilets through a company that will pick up the portable toilets when there is a named storm threatening the coast.
Marker recommended Oriole Beach, Bagdad Oyster Pile, and Woodlawn Beach boat ramps. Whitfield said Bagdad Oyster Pile boat ramp already has a portable toilet. Turpin said there is a demand for portable toilets, and this is a good idea. He said he has had success with portable toilets in Escambia County in areas that do not have problems with vandalism.
Walker said several years ago portable toilets were placed at some boat ramps. Whitfield said there were a number of complaints because the toilets are unsightly and they attract loitering. He said at Woodlawn Beach and Oriole Beach boat ramps there is potential for complaints from residents in the area. Marker requested a 90 day test. Whitfield
suggested placing portable toilets at East River boat ramp, Sandy Landing, and Terrell Landing. He said the county will need agreements withthe property owners at Sandy and
Johnson discussed two studies that have been done on criminal behavior. He said vandalism will occur if the portable toilets are brought into areas that are not watched or maintained. There was discussion regarding the expense and maintenance of portable toilets. Wakley said “everyone should not be punished because of a few bad apples.” He
said he felt Oriole Beach, Woodlawn Beach, and East River boat ramps are the best locations for portable toilets.
Marker moved to place portable toilets at Oriole Beach, Woodlawn Beach, and East River boat ramps as a 90 day test project; Wakley seconded, and the vote carried unanimously. (5-0)
Walker said he will take the recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners. He discussed the conflict that may occur with the neighbors near the boat ramps. Whitfield
said the handicap accessible portable toilets will have to be used.
Marker asked if the county has made any attempt to contact the realtor regarding the property for sale near Oriole Beach boat ramp. Walker said the county has contacted the
owner and his realtor. He said a funding source is trying to be worked out. Walker said FEMA will provide 75% of the funding for property acquisition if there is history of storm damage to the property. He said if FEMA provides funding, the property will never be able to be developed, thus making the property perfect for boat ramp parking. Walker said the property owner lives across the street, and he does not like the boat ramp. He said the owner may not be willing to sellthe propertyfor boat ramp parking. Walker said the county has contacted a property owner that may have property for sale next to Bagdad Oyster Pile boat ramp. He said a list of potential properties has been compiled. Walker said preliminary contacts are being made and potential funding sources are being identified. There was further discussion regarding the property for sale near Oriole Beach boat ramp.
Marker discussed a phone call he received regarding the Marquis Basin boat ramp parking spaces being used by kids. Marker said there is nothing law enforcement can do
because there is no ordinance or signs posted regarding parking. He asked the committee to consider an ordinance that will provide identifiable parking spaces to allow law
enforcement the ability to write citations for vehicles that park in the trailer only parking zone. Blaylock said signs were posted at Navarre Beach boat ramp due to this same type
of complaint. He said he felt designated parking signs can be posted at Marquis Basin boat ramp. Whitfield said he will look into posting “boat trailer parking only” signs at
Marquis Basin boat ramp.
Johnson said there is a need to provide areas for non boaters to enjoy water activities. He discussed plans for future water parks allowing for shared usage. Marker said the Marine Advisory Committee is here to provide access to waterways, and access is inhibited because people are taking up more parking spaces than necessary. Blaylock said the City of Milton does a good job of separating trailer parking and non trailer parking at Carpenter’s Park. There was further discussion regarding available parking spaces.
Gibson asked if there are restroom facilities at Archie Glover boat ramp and if there are problems with vandalism. Whitfield said there are always vandalism problems, and the
facilities are maintained as well as possible. Marker asked when the road to Archie Glover boat ramp will be paved. Whitfield said the road is scheduled to be paved in September. He said the MSBU paving projects will be completed first. Whitfield said paving projects are completed as directed by the Board.
Turpin asked the progress of the grant funded reef project. Verlinde said 30 reef units were deployed on May 24 th and deployment went very well. She said she can provide the
reef coordinates. Johnson said the coordinates are listed on the back of the new fishing rule book and posted on the website.
Wakley congratulated Turpin on sinking an aircraft carrier. He said Escambia County now has an aircraft carrier and a battleship lying on the ocean bottom.
There was discussion regarding the City of Milton receiving $50,000.00 from the Boater Registration fees for repairs to the north boat ramp at Carpenter’s Park. Walker said the
Board voted to contribute up to $50,000.00 towards the ramp repairs. He said the channel markers at Navarre Beach boat ramp will also be funded from Boater Registration fees.
Wakley asked if the Carpenter’s Park repairs will be the only item submitted for grant funds. Walker agreed. He said after approved allocations, the approximate balance in the
Boater Improvement Fund will be $348,000.00. Walker said the balance will be about $370,000.00 at the end of the year. Whitfield said part of the expense of paving the
roadway going to Archie Glover boat ramp will come from the Boater Improvement fund. After further discussion it was decided a balance of about $300,000.00 will be in the Boater Improvement Fund at the end of the year.
Wakley requested “no diving” signs be installed at the Navarre Beach boat ramp.
Turpin moved to support the derelict vessel grant and schedule the next Marine Advisory Committee meeting in August; Marker seconded, and the vote carried unanimously. (5-0)
The next scheduled meeting of the Marine Advisory Committee will be on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at 5:00 p.m.
There being no further business to come before the Marine Advisory Committee at this time, the meeting adjourned at 5:50 p.m.