FWC seeks public comment on Proposed Springs Protection Zone for Weeki Wachee Spring
At its May Commission meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) directed boating and waterways staff to reevaluate the proposal and evidence for the establishment of a Springs Protection Zone at Weeki Wachee Spring and a portion of the spring’s associated spring run in Hernando County.
Anchoring, mooring, beaching and grounding of vessels were determined to have caused harm to the bank and vegetation, native habitat and aquatic grasses in and around the spring and along the spring run. These activities will be prohibited within the proposed Springs Protection Zone.
FWC staff coordinated with Hernando County officials, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Department of Environmental Protection to review whether Weeki Wachee Spring met the criteria for the creation of a Springs Protection Zone and held three public meetings, two for the Weeki Wachee Springs Protection Zone in particular, for interested parties before approval. The FWC, DEP, Southwest Florida Water Management District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Coast Guard evaluated the evidence presented.
At the upcoming July 19-20 Commission meeting, FWC staff will present a proposed final rule that will create a Springs Protection Zone restricting beaching, mooring, anchoring and grounding of vessels on the spring run of the Weeki Wachee River extending from the spring boil within Weeki Wachee Springs State Park to the Rogers Park Boat Ramp.
The FWC is seeking public comment on the proposed Springs Protection Zone. A summary of the input received during this public comment period will be presented to Commissioners at the July 19-20 meeting. Public comments are being accepted through June 30. Comments can be submitted to BoatingPublicComments@MyFWC.com and via mail:
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Attn: Boating and Waterways, 1M
620 S. Meridian St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399
See a map and description of the proposed Springs Protection Zone and learn more about opportunities to provide feedback by visiting My FWC.com/boating, clicking on “Waterway Management” and then “Public Workshops/Meeting/Notices.”