Ban gas-powered boats from the lower Ichetucknee River

Citizens have an opportunity to help keep the lower Ichetucknee River from being ravaged by motorboats.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has a new tool: source protection areas. These zones restrict the speed or operation of vessels or prohibit the anchoring, mooring, beaching or stranding of vessels to protect or prevent damage to first, second and third magnitude sources and source groups. and their associated pathways.

What a blessing to have no gasoline fumes, no noisy motorboats, no propellers tearing through weeds and scarring manatees. That’s how it is inside Ichetucknee State Park. Now you can write to the FWC, demanding that there be no gas-powered propeller boats on the entire river.

For three years I and others fought the American cement plant in Suwannee. We lost that battle, but we can and must win this one.

I am disgusted when propeller boats emitting smoke line both sides of the river. Swimming in the fumes is like riding a skateboard on a highway. Are these vapors not a degradation for the fauna as well as for the humans who swim in these once virgin waters?

Years ago, when I swam upstream from the confluence, rainbow fins emerged from the green eelgrass, swarms of mullet darted, bass and sunnies lurked in the vegetation. There now: no eelgrass, no arc fins, few fish you see through your glasses.

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Gas droplets float on the once clear water. Manatees seek refuge, only to be marked by propeller boats unknowingly allowed to navigate these crystal clear waters.

If the FWC is responsible for protecting our waters, then tell them to use this new source protection areas tool. It is a sin for nature to continue to allow the destruction of grasses, water quality and wildlife, not to mention the humans who want to bathe in these spiritual waters.

Virginia Seacrist lives in Gainesville. This column is part of The Sun’s Messages from the Springs Heartland series.

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Earnest A. Martinez