--- On Wed, 7/2/08, Mariella Smith insightgraphics (at) earthlink.net wrote:
Dear south county friends & neighbors who care about our environment,
Changes to our county's Comprehensive Plan are in the works which will affect the natural resources of south Hillsborough — for better or for worse, depending on who participates in the planning.
Come to this public meeting and find out about the environmental treasures in our area, and help plan how best to protect them from the impacts of future development. Also, if you know of a little creek, seasonal wetland, wildlife corridor, special habitat or other environmental resource in this area, please come and make sure it is protected in this plan.
July 8, 6:00 p.m.
SouthShore Regional Library
15816 Beth Shields Way, Ruskin, FL 33573
As part of the process of developing a Community Plan for the area south of the Little Manatee River, down to Manatee county (the South Side Community Plan), the public is invited to help shape the environmental component of that plan, as it will affect the natural resources which belong to all of us.
Some of the last remaining natural areas in the county are at stake. For example:
1.) A large county-owned piece of pristine pineland and gopher tortoise habitat adjacent to Sun City Heritage Park on Hwy 41 at the river. It could get preserved —OR paved with housing.
2.) The last pieces of prime coastal wetlands along Cockroach Bay could remain integral pieces of the coastal ecosystem —OR become industrial port facilities or housing subdivisions.
3.) Wildlife corridors connecting nature preserves could continue to allow animals to move between natural areas —OR they could get blocked with development, fragmenting habitat into bits too small to continue supporting wildlife.
and that's just a few examples of what's on the table in this plan...
Representatives of these state and local environmental agencies will discuss the environmental systems and resources of south Hillsborough:
• ELAPP - Environmental Lands Acquisition & Protection Program - county nature preserves, conservation of wildlife habitat (Forest Turbiville)
• EPC - Environmental Protection Commission
• Public Works (Keith Wiley)
• SWFWMD's SWIM - The water management agency working with the county to restore Cockroach Bay, Marsh Creek, Wolfbranch Creek, etc. (Brandt Henningsen)
See a 2-minute video of Brandt Henningsen talking about one south county restoration project here:
These are all great speakers who know a lot (and care a lot) about the ecosystems and wildlife in our area. If you care about these things, I'm sure you will find their presentations interesting & informative.
People who are especially interested in the environmental issues of south Hillsborough will not have to participate in all the other meetings of the South Side Community Plan Working Group, but this meeting (and maybe another one or two later) will be of interest with a focus on the area's natural resources. (There will also be a brief presentation about a "Port Manatee study" regarding a road connecting Hwy 41 & I-75, near the port in Manatee County.)