Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando commission okays contract to address sea grass concerns

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Commission on Tuesday approved a four-month contract with a private sea grass recovery company to get the county back in compliance with a federal permit critical to the Hernando Beach Channel dredge.

Earlier this month, the county received notice that it was out of compliance with its Army Corps of Engineers permit to replant sea grass as part of the dredging process. The county, which had taken on the sea grass monitoring responsibility, had failed to provide nutrient injections and fertilizer spikes required to maintain the sea grass beds.

Noncompliance could result in a permit suspension or revocation or a fine up to $27,500, according to the letter sent by Alfred A. Pantano Jr., district commander for the corps.

County transportation services director Susan Goebel, who told commissioners that she was responsible for the noncompliance, assured them that the four-month contract with the firm Seagrass Recovery would get the project back on track and would not cause any delays in getting the dredging started. The cost for the contract is $83,672.

Additional maintenance and monitoring of sea grasses will be required for the next five years, but the county staff is continuing to explore options to accomplish that as inexpensively as possible, including a possible permit modification. Monitoring and maintenance costs could exceed $500,000.

Commissioner Dave Russell asked if the county could go back to previous sea grass mitigation requirements in which the county discovered some areas that needed replanting actually regrew sea grass, but Goebel said that the permit requires the regular maintenance even if the grass is doing well.

"That's goofy,'' Russell said.

County Administrator David Hamilton said that it was important to follow what is required so that Hernando doesn't hold up actual work on the dredge project. The contract for the dredging work was awarded last week and Tampa-based contractor BCPeabody is trying to complete the work by the end of the year.

In a related motion, commissioners rejected a proposed $303,610 increase in the most recent amount paid to the county's dredge consultant, Halcrow Inc. Instead, the commission asked the staff to try to get a better price for the work.

"I think we can do better,'' Russell said.

Halcrow has already collected $2.1 million for its work on the project.

Commissioner Jeff Stabins also asked the board to support his desire to see a detailed report from the staff, not just on Halcrow's most recent bills, but bills back to when the company started working with the county in mid 2005.

"I want to make sure the taxpayers of this county have not been overcharged,'' Stabins said.

The commission agreed to request the detailed report.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando commission okays contract to address sea grass concerns 03/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 7:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start


    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  2. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy


    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  4. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)


    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102
  5. Chemical industry insider now shapes EPA policy


    WASHINGTON — For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.

    This is the Dow chemical plant near Freeport, Texas. Before the 2016 election, Dow had been in talks with the EPA to phase out the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which is blamed for disabilities in children. Dow is no longer willing to compromise.