Weeki Wachee River Maintenance
We are faced with growing sandbars affecting the navigability of the river forcing bathers, boaters and kayakers to be in close proximity of one another. The sandbars are preventing homeowners on canals from accessing the river by boat to commute to the Gulf of Mexico, and starving those same canals of water flow resulting in stagnant, dirty water.
The Hernando County Task Force is aware that this is a public safety hazard, as they have requested funding from the Florida Legislature for dredging operations in problem areas along the river for at least a decade, all the while citing “danger to fish, wildlife and people”. Hernando County has performed some maintenance dredges in the past in an effort to smooth public outrage of neglect; however it appears the maintenance of the river has fallen through the cracks. River attendance is at an all-time high with several businesses opening on and off the river that introduce thousands of people onto and into the waters every day.
In the January 4, 2016 minutes of the Hernando County Task Force, the members categorized “Sand Control & Removal” and “Navigation” a “medium priority”. In an effort to deflect the problem, it is common to hear blaming the sandbars on the boats. While the boats, bathers and kayakers all add to the turbidity of the water, to blame one or all on creating this problem is against science and the facts obtained by the Government in 1972.
Choosing not to maintain this river affects the public safety in many ways; some of which are watercraft navigation, marine emergency responders not being able to access the public and stagnant water problems leading to the spread of Zika Virus. The environment will be directly affected by the mass of stagnant waters once the sandbars completely choke off the canals of fresh water. Besides the public safety problems, the fish and wildlife that have inhabited these areas will be no more totally transforming our environment into something that has never been seen here. Lastly, our property values will tank and businesses and citizens will seek other communities that invest in their environment.
Signing this petition indicates support in requesting Hernando County, FL and the State of Florida to treat this matter as a "High Priority" issue and to expeditiously resolve this issue by removal of the shoaling sand in the lower river by hydraulic dredging and/or conducting a shoreline restoration project that would remove the shoaling sand from the bottom of the river thereby removing the public safety threats identified, the environmental catastrophe that could occur due to stagnant water canals and avoid potential declining property values in the area resulting from the public safety and environmental issues.