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Water-Related News

Conservation advocates praise death of bill they say would have hurt seagrass – and manatees

State officials recorded 1,101 manatee deaths in 2021, an all-time high. Comparatively, the five-year mortality average is 625.

Marine conservation advocates at Ocean Conservancy are praising lawmakers for killing a bill they say could have killed seagrass, manatees, and Florida’s water quality.

The legislation (SB 198/HB 349) would have allowed the state to grant easements on state lands often submerged under fresh or tidally influenced waters. While the easements would have been for seagrass mitigation banks, Ocean Conservancy and other organizations like the nonprofit argue the bill would have permitted the destruction of seagrass in exchange for replanting efforts they said have largely proven unsuccessful.

The bills, filed by Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez and Rep. Tyler Sirois, passed one committee in the House and Senate but came to a halt in mid-January after advocates and seagrass nurseries alike raised concerns about the bill.