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If it's listed in here, be cautious

It was designed for boaters.

But a colorful brochure about to be circulated in the Tampa Bay area is so packed with information that it's expected to be popular among non-boaters, too.

"I suggested that they change the name to the Tampa Bay Resource Guide," said Jamie Serino, spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, one of several agencies involved in developing the brochure.

The publication's tour de force is a color map that lists environmental resources around the bay to help boaters protect the environment. The foldout map, printed on waterproof material, pinpoints sea grass beds, mangrove communities, salt marshes and aquatic preserves. It also lists artificial reefs and public boat ramps.

"We want to educate people who are using the resource and show them where all the valuable habitat is so they can avoid it," Serino said. "But we also want to show them where all the access points are so they can use the resource and enjoy it."

The other side of the map contains information about native habitats in the Tampa Bay area. Tips are designed to help boaters avoid damage to sensitive natural habitats and to endangered sea creatures like manatees and sea turtles.

The guide also gives information about the birds of Tampa Bay and some of the most popular sport fish. Finally, it lists organizations and agencies that can be contacted to get information or to report problems.

"I've heard just great things about the guide," Serino said. "There hasn't been one that has been this comprehensive for this area."

Other agencies involved in developing the guide include the National Estuary Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the National Audubon Society, and the Tampa Bay Pilots Association.

To get a guide

The brochure will be available at Pinellas County tax collector's offices by July, or call the National Estuary Program at 893-2765.