Gulf of Mexico
Florida Department of Environmental Protection staff conduct regular seagrass monitoring to assess the health and diversity of seagrass meadows within the St. Martins Marsh and Big Bend Seagrasses Aquatic Preserves north of Tampa Bay. A state legislator wants to extend the aquatic preserve to all of Citrus, Hernando and Pasco counties. Charlie Shoemaker for The Pew Charitable Trusts [Charlie Shoemaker for The Pew Charitable Trusts]

FL - Who wouldn’t want a coastal, aquatic preserve? Lots of people, apparently

A proposed preserve off Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties is drawing criticism as too restrictive

If you boat offshore in the Gulf of Mexico between Anclote and Yankeetown, there’s a good chance seagrass is beneath your vessel. Lots of seagrass.

There are 400,000 acres of the ecologically important plant along the Nature Coast, including Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties. But there’s no state management plan on how to protect it in its entirety.

The Pew Charitable Trusts wants to change that. It is urging Florida to designate the coastal areas off the three counties as the Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve. It would join 41 existing aquatic preserves in Florida totaling 2.2 million acres, the creation of which date to 1975.

Read the full story here.