February 6, 2007
The Marine Advisory Committee met on the above date with the following members present: Vice Chairman Jeff Marker 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). Vice Chairman Marker called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. He said there is not a quorum so this will be an informationalmeeting only.
Brenda Stokes asked if the Marine Advisory Committee will designate a person to work with the stakeholders on the Navarre Beach marine sanctuary. She said the new pier will
be constructed near the old pier site so the previously approved site for a marine sanctuary is eliminated. Stokes said Goodin said the location of the marine sanctuary will be moved to the original site within the state park area. She said she will be happy to serve as the spokesperson for the marine sanctuary committee.
Turpin discussed the history of the marine sanctuary plan and state funding that is no longer available. He said at this time the marine sanctuary committee needs to regroup
and attempt to acquire grant funding for the project. Turpin said there is some interest in the project at Fish and Wildlife. He said the Board of County Commissioners will need to
decide if the project is viable beforethe marine sanctuary committee moves forward.
Blaylock said Stokes can come back before the Marine Advisory Committee when there is a quorum to vote on her request to become the liaison for the marine sanctuary. He
said the Marine Advisory Committee can make a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners to act on pursuing grants and other funding opportunities. Marker
said this committee is on record supporting the marine sanctuary. He said he felt Stokes can be the contact person without a formal vote to research possible funding sources for the project. Turpin said he felt the county’s support is needed to proceed further.
There was discussion regarding the best site for amarine sanctuary and concerns from the fishing community. Marker asked who in Santa Rosa County will do the design work and identify the location. Blaylock said a consultant will provide the design and permitting work. Stokes said the design has already beencompleted. She said the design will have to be altered to fit the budget. There was further discussion regarding the marine sanctuary plan designed by the State of Florida.
Turpin said tonights main objective is to find out if the county is willing to pursue the concept of a marine sanctuary with the understanding no funding has been identified. He
said the project will have to be redesigned, but the details can be worked out at a later date. Blaylock said the marine sanctuary concept will have to be presented to the Board
of County Commissiners for approval. Marker said the Marine Advisory Committee supports this project.
Stokes said she has been snorkeling in many different areas around the world, and Navarre Beach has just as much to offer as any place she has visited. Walker suggested
Stokes contact Commissioner Goodin.
Boat Ramp Updates – Public Works Director
Escambia Fill Boat Ramp Request
Whitfield said all boat ramp improvements previously discussed are complete. He said at
the last meeting Bill Myrick requested the county consider a boat ramp near the Escambia
River Bridge. Whitfield said there are far too many hurdles to make this area a boat ramp
park. He discussed several of the problems associated with the suggested site. Marker
agreed with Whitfield’s recommendation.
Marker asked if a letter was sent to the State of Florida regarding Mulat Channel. Whitfield said he contacted FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) concerning Tidewater Skanska Inc., and FDOT said the Interstate 10 Bridge contractor is under no obligation to do any dredging. He said some people feel Mulat Channel was filled by the hurricanes rather than the activities of Tidewater Skanska Inc. Blayock discussed dredging of this channel years ago when the Interstate 10 Bridge was originally constructed. He said he has not seen any soundings that showthe channel is shoaling.
Marker asked how a determination can be made on whether or not there is any residual damage to the channel by Tidewater Skanski Inc. vessel activities. Turpin said prop
dredging is illegal, but the burden of proof will be on whoever is making the accusation. There was further discussion regarding the problemarea inMulat Channel.
Waterway Access Funding Alternatives
Marker tabled this item.
Boating Safety/Boating Etiquette Seminar
Marker said Verlinde has contacted the Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the March 10th date will not work for the Boater Safety Seminar. He rescinded his motion designating this
date for the seminar. After discussion Marker said he will contact the Coast Guard Auxiliary to schedule boater safety inspections at area boat ramps in April. Turpin said the boater safety inspections should not compete with Earth Day on April 21 st . Verlinde noted the Coast Guard Auxiliary is interested in working with the county on boater safety. Walker said when the dates are confirmed, the Public Information Officer can get the information out to the public.
Derelict Vessel Information
Whitfield said the county contacted Marine Patrol about the derelict vessel near Garcon Point. He said Marine Patrol has located and contacted the owner of that derelict vessel,
and the owner has a certain number of days to have the vessel removed.
Marker requested the Marine Advisory Committees’ support in requesting the Board draft a letter supporting local fisherman on the Red Snapper issue and he said he also
requests support for the letter sent by Congressman Jeff Miller to Richard Pombo, Chairman of the House Committee on Resources.
Marker asked if the Ship to Reef Program should be pursued. Walker discussed the challenges without a project manager and the expense to the county. Turpin reviewed the
Escambia County expenses associated with the Oriskany reef project. He suggested shared funding with Escambia County since residents from both counties will benefit.
Turpin said he is authorized to spend $100,000.00 this fiscal year on another reef vessel. He said he would like to see another large ship reef in the Gulf of Mexico.
Marker asked if moorings will be installed near the Oriskany. Turpin said moorings were never intended due to liability issues. He said there are several very good tie off points on the island superstructure of the Oriskany.
Marker discussed his concerns with the absence of members for the Marine Advisory Committee meetings. He said committed members are needed.
Verlinde said she has submitted the Artificial Reef Grant application for monitoring of four artificial reefs. Marker asked if Walter Marine has submitted any monitoring data on the last reef material deployed. Verlinde said Walter Marine will provide this information after one year. Marker asked Verlinde to remind Walter Marine about the monitoring information.
The next scheduled meeting of the Marine Advisory Committee will be on Tuesday, March 6, 2007 at 5:00 p.m.
There being no further business to come before the committee at this time, the meeting adjourned at 6:00 p.m.