running aground can get expensive!

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cape man
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Re: running aground can get expensive!

Post by cape man » Sat Feb 20, 2010 9:20 pm

It's my daughter's 16th Birthday so I'm not getting into a really long discussion. Read this though. Good discussion of the issue. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/florida ... 28498.html

I blame the issues in Florida on 20 million people (and I count as one). The sugar industry and the Corps definitely have played a major role, especially in the Everglades, but the 6 million people that live around that ecosystem have had much to do with it as well. Seagrass is vital to the food chain in that system (Florida Bay) and unfortunately takes a long time to recover when damaged. If left alone those areas often won't fill back in as they become tidal channels in that shallow a system. I spent two summers when younger planting seagrass and mangroves down there and I can attest that it isn't a cheap operation.


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Re: running aground can get expensive!

Post by Aripeka Angler » Sat Feb 20, 2010 10:27 pm

Here is some reading of the history of the Everglades draining project. The Army Corps trashed trillions of tons of seagrass doing this. All by altering the natural flow of water. If you don't live here you may not know about it. You are paying for it though :wink: We have spent hundreds of billions on Everglades and Florida Bay restoration.....
http://www.evergladesplan.org/about/res ... devel.aspx
Makes a grounding seem kind of trivial unless it happens to you....
Richard
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Re: running aground can get expensive!

Post by cape man » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:43 am

Last Tuesday we left Tampa in a small plane and flew down to the north end of Key Largo at 3,500. On the way home we had to fly a little bit to the east and at 6,000 feet. The trip was one of the best I've ever had for visibility (one advantage to the crisp weather we are having this year). On both legs we had an awesome view of the southern part of the Everglades, which is truly a "River of Grass" that empties out of Lake Okeechobbee and flows south, south west into the Gulf of Mexico (numerous small creeks and rivers coming out below Everglades City) and Florida Bay (again through small creeks south of Homestead and all the way to Cape Sable. What also struck me is the amount of new development, both agriculture and residential that has occurred right up to the edge of the public lands that make up the Big Cypress National Wildlife Refuge, the Water Management District's property, and the Park. With the advent of gambling, even the Micosukee tribe has built a small city where there used to be a few buildings and palm Chikees. The historical system, including Florida Bay, was nothing like we see today, and over my 50+ years of life I have seen it steadily change - for the worst in many ways.

On a blow out tide much of the northern portions of the bay are out of the water. There are deeper areas, but hardly anything over 10 feet. When the rainy season hit, the Bay recieved a LOT of fresah water that had been filtered to a clear whiskey color as it slowly seeped through the Everglades. This made for one of the largest and robust seagrass ecosystems in the northern hemisphere. The loss of this fresh water, the lack of slow filtering by the everglades, and the increase levels of nutrients going in upstream (it's not just the agriculture! People poop too.) has caused large areas which used to be seagrass to become barren marl.

Too little too late in my opinion, we started getting concerned with seagrass, and developed rules to protect them. If you need to dredge an area for development (ports, waterlines, channels, etc.) you have to replant seagrass afterwards, or in a nearby area that historically had seagrass. In the 70's I worked summers for a company that collected Turtle Grass seeds in the Keys, germinated them in pens off the beach in Miami, and then planted the seedling plants. We also planted "cuttings" from two other species that don't readily produce seeds. Much of the work required several scuba divers, so you couldn't just hire anyone (I did the work because I was making GOOD money while on summer breaks from college.). Not sure when, but they also established law that made it a violation if you ran a boat into and caused damage to significant habitat, with seagrass and coral being the main systems they were concerned with in south Florida. The fines established were serious, and designed to cover the costs associated with restoration. The trip I was taking last week was to get some coral fragments to take back to our research farm, as we are looking at restoration of coral reefs using corals produced by aquaculture. Still in its early stages, I can already say that coral restoration is even more expensive than seagrass!!!

Richard you are right that the damage done by a 72 foot boat running into a seagrass bed and then trying to power off is almost a joke compared to what we have done to south Florida in less than 100 years of development, and the federal government was probably the biggest player in altering the everglades and thus Florida Bay to accomodate farming and settlement in an area that was never meant for it. The numbers over that time may add up to hundreds of billions, but right now the price tag for the latest project is just under $8 billion. From the web page you posted...
21. How much will it cost to implement the Plan?
The original estimate (1998) indicated that implementation of the Plan will cost $7.8 billion; and that an additional $182 million will be needed annually to operate, maintain and monitor the plan. In general, the Federal government will pay half the cost. The State of Florida will pay the other half. More specific arrangements concerning which agencies will pay the state costs, and when payments will be made, have yet to be determined.
I think it is overly optimistic to think we can "fix" it, but am hoping that they come up with something that will get it back to a fraction of what it was.

I do not know what happened when the guy and his 72 foot boat ran aground, where it was, or why the fine was so large. He settled, so I assume he also paid court costs? Again, the only reason I originally posted this was to alert anyone running a boat in Florida's shallow water that the fines for running aground in seagrass can be extremely expensive. I have run aground many times in a boat, including in seagrass, but since the rules have been in place I am extremely cautious, especially within the Park. Not only do I not want to damage the grass and my lower unit, I can't afford the fines.
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Re: running aground can get expensive!

Post by MadRus » Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:05 am

You posted, so you're going to get my .02 here. First of all, this isn't supposed to be a political site, I'm sure I've heard that somewhere here before. Secondly, this has been going on in MA since the Pilgrims landed- one group makes money destroying it, another group makes money putting it back together, so the other group can make more money destroying it again, etc. It's the American way. Finally, you want a better America? Grow up and get it through your heads- THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS TREADING LIGHTLY. You either tread or you don't tread. We fool ourselves every day into thinking that our lower standard over one issue is okay, as long as everyone's having fun and we use big words with big price tags like "Mitigate". It's a joke. It's not working. Take the blinders off and take a look around you. Anyone with more than thirty years under his belt should be able to see the changes in his own back yard.

IMO, this is one of the largest issues facing our country over the long-haul. We're conditioned to feed the marketing machine. We buy bigger boats because the beer gods tell us we should. STOP. Think about it. THERE REALLY IS NO OTHER REASON. That's why it's called recreation. We don't stop to question the message. We simply do it for whatever the reason being promoted. And when we've destroyed our environment, even in our own back yards, the industry comes out with a message like "tread lightly", putting all the watered-down blame on us. Message received- don't stop 4-wheeling, just do it "lightly" and everything will be okay. WHAT?????????!!!!!!!!!!! Where do we draw the line between our shared needs/desires and the individual's. And how do we reconcile the individual American's need to live Anheiser Bush's/Harley Davidson's/Honda's definition of fun with the, as yet unknown, needs of future generations? When do we stop acting on impulse and start thinking about consequenses? When it's too late?

Everyone's up in arms about drivers texting on their cell phones and ready to pass laws against it. Why don't we just put pressure on the idiots who are selling phones with the texting ability on them to stop offering it? No. That's not American. That would be like- dare I say it in such mixed company- prohibition. Apparently, SMART isn't American anymore. The problem is much, much larger than sea grass- it's in our shared cultrual beliefs and identity. The problem is our Americanism. Until we change that definition, you're going to be pissing your money and time away like Sisyphus.

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Re: running aground can get expensive!

Post by cape man » Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:25 pm

You posted, so you're going to get my .02 here.
Wow! Want to say more but I'll leave it at that...Wow! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :help: :help: :help: :help: :help:
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Re: running aground can get expensive!

Post by michaelwpayton » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:18 pm

MadRus wrote:You posted, so you're going to get my .02 here...
"Mad" Rus... Enough said.
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Re: running aground can get expensive!

Post by Cracker Larry » Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:30 pm

8O :? :lol:
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Re: running aground can get expensive!

Post by gk108 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:36 pm

Mr. Marlow was lucky that I wasn't involved in adjudicating his case, because I would have confiscated his boat for auction and told him to start all over again and learn how to read a chart this time. Next time I visit my National Park, I sure don't want to see where someone carved their initials in it with a pair of 3' props. 8)
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Re: running aground can get expensive!

Post by cape man » Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:33 pm

Image

Here she is...on a better day.
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