GASPARILLA

50
¢
Vol. 26, No. 22 Boca Grande, Florida June 3, 2014
P R S T D S T D
U S P O S T A G E
P A I D
B o c a G r a n d e , F L
P e r m i t # 3
A l l B o x H o l d e r s
B o c a G r a n d e , F L 3 3 9 2 1
GASPARILLA
GAZETTE
Looking inside ...
Page 9
Howl at the
Moon date ...
Page 10
Sea turtle report ...
Columnists this week:
P 12, ‘Make Your
Point’
with
Bob Elliott
P 11, ‘Suncoast
Salutations ’
with
Phil Synder
P 13, ‘Bill’s Wild
World’
with
Bill Dunson
GAZETTE
■ First place in the 2014 Ladies Howl at the Moon Tarpon Tournament was taken by Capt. Charlie Coleman and anglers Nicole Cole-
man, Emily Wise and Amber Gassman aboard Casuarina. Second place went to Capt. Jason Futch and anglers Kari Hayden, Dawn
Balsizer, Stacy Wear and Katie Gamber aboard the Savannah. Third place went to anglers Kristie Coleman, Sarah Dixon, Kelley Sad-
lowsik and Liz Woodroffe on Family Tradition with Capt. Matt Coleman. More than $1,300 was raised for the American Cancer Society
Relay For Life as well. For the complete story, see this Friday’s Boca Beacon. Photo by Daniel
e
p
h
o
riz
e
■ STAFF REPORT
C
asuarina takes L
adies H
ow
l!
Two local
captains cited for
breakaway gear
F
lorida Fish and Wildlife Con-
servation Commission offi-
cers cited two island charter
guides for allegedly using weights
that were im-
properly at-
tached to their
lines.
The citations
were issued on
the evening of
Saturday, May
28 in Boca
Grande Pass.
David
Chatham, 35, of
Port Charlotte and Frank Davis, 53,
of Placida, were both cited with using
“breakaway gear.”
The original
story posted in
the Tampa Bay
Times was in-
correctly titled,
“Boca Grande
guides cited for
banned jigs.”
A court date of
Tuesday, June
17 has been set
for Chatham and
Davis.
Proposed critical habitat
designation could prove thorny
T
he United States Fish and
Wildlife Service has indi-
cated that parts of Gaspar-
illa may be included in a new critical
habitat designation they are drafting.
The species to be protected is the
aboriginal prickly-apple (Harrisia
aboriginum), listed under the Endan-
gered Species Act in October 2013,
according to a presentation given by
the USFWS in the spring to local
homeowners, including the Gaspar-
illa Island Conservation and Improve-
ment Association, which holds
conservation lands and represents
owners of private land.
The presentation shows 10 sites
where the plant historically ranged,
around the Charlotte Harbor area,
five of which are on Gasparilla.
Those sites, which some believe
may become the basis for the pro-
posed critical habitat designation, in-
clude some privately owned
residential lots.
Ken Warren, a representative of
the USFWS, said they are in the
planning, or, “pre-decisional,” phase
and hence could not give information
about what would be included in the
designation. He also declined to give
an estimate of the draft's publication
date.
The USFWS presentation, fur-
nished by the GICIA, said that, once
the proposed rule is published in the
Federal Register, there will be a 60-
See PRICKLY APPLE on PAGE 3
CAPT. DAVID CHATHAM
■ BY JACK SHORT
CAPT. FRANK DAVIS
June 3, 2014 GASPARILLA GAZETTE PAGE 3
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day comment period and peer re-
view, an economic analysis followed
by a 30-day comment period, a pe-
riod for service review comments and
more peer review, and the assimila-
tion of new information. The final rule
is usually published within a year of
the initial notice “if supported by the
best available science and there are
no extenuating circumstances.”
Data sources for the critical analy-
sis, according to the USFWS's pres-
entation, include national heritage
occurrence data and natural heritage
habitat mapping (in the case of con-
servation areas), both taken from
Florida Natural Areas Inventories in
2011 and 2012, and analysis of aerial
images.
The suitable habitats for the
prickly-apple listed in the USFWS's
presentation include coastal strand,
coastal berm, coastal grasslands,
maritime hammock and shell
mounds.
A representative of the GICIA said
they are concerned about the possi-
bility of single-family, undeveloped
lots being included in the designa-
tion.
A GICIA representative said, “I
would encourage property owners of
undeveloped single-family lots along
the water to inquire with USFWS re-
garding the 'proposed' designation. If
their property is included within the
proposed boundary it could affect
how they develop their property or if
they could obtain Federal Flood In-
surance.”
Section 7 of the ESA requires con-
sultation with the USFWS for any
federal action or any action that re-
quires the issuance of a federal per-
mit or which is affected by federal
funding.
Both Dick Yusk of Yusk Construc-
tion and Kirby Outerbridge of Outer-
bridge Construction said they have
never had to obtain federal permits
for any of their numerous projects on
Gasparilla Island.
However, according to the USFWS
presentation, actions with a federal
nexus, or, which may require consul-
tation with the USFWS, include but
are not limited to projects requiring a
federal permit such as those required
to build docks (the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers must authorize them),
or fill or drain wetlands. Other permits
issued by the Federal Emergency
Management Agency, which adminis-
ters the National Flood Insurance
Program, may be affected, according
to the presentation.
The Service said they “will try to
work with Lee County on program-
matic consultation to cover building
permits that that require NFIP (sic).”
A FEMA representative said,
“There is no relationship between a
critical habitat designation and flood
insurance coverage availability or
flood insurance rates through the Na-
tional Flood Insurance Program.”
However, in 1994, The U.S. District
Court for the Southern District of
Florida concluded that FEMA's imple-
mentation of the NFIP constituted a
federal action for the purposes of
section 7 of the ESA and required
FEMA to consult with the USFWS on
whether their action was likely to
jeopardize the continued existence of
the endangered Florida Key Deer in
Monroe County, Florida.
The related critical habitat designa-
tion in Monroe (which includes the
Keys) proved problematic for prop-
erty owners seeking flood insurance
under the NFIP when the National
Wildlife Federation, Defenders of
Wildlife and the Florida Wildlife Fed-
eration filed suit against the USFWS
and FEMA in 2005. The South
Florida District Court granted an in-
junction against both federal agen-
cies to prevent FEMA from issuing
new federal flood insurance permits
and from implementing parts of the
USFWS's Biological Opinion, up-
dated in 2003 from a 1997 BO. The
court's 2005 injunction included criti-
cism that the USFWS and FEMA
failed to provide adequate protection
to the Florida Key deer by relying on
voluntary measures, and failing to
protect against cumulative effects of
habitat loss and fragmentation.
The USFWS then issued a revised
BO in April, 2010, and revised it in
December, 2010, in order to have the
injunction lifted.
The BOs issued by the USFWS
may include Reasonable and Pru-
dent Alternatives, which are “eco-
nomically and technologically
feasible” actions the USFWS be-
lieves would avoid jeopardy to the
species or habitat in question.
RPAs included in the 2003, 2006
and 2010 BOs in the Monroe County
case included minor measures such
as a requirement that brochures on
the destruction caused by feral cats
be distributed to permit applicants,
but also a requirement, for example,
that for parcels within potential suit-
able habitat and associated buffer
zones, issuance of building permits
for certain construction activities
would require further consultation
with FEMA and the USFWS. Specifi-
cally, consultation would be required
for any floodplain development per-
mits related to lots or parcels where
development would expand the foot-
print of existing structures, or expand
the associated clearing of or place-
ment of fences into native habitat. If
adverse effects were possible, the
USFWS would notify the participating
community by letter of the “may-af-
fect determination” and possible
need for authorization under ESA
sections 7 and 10. Those communi-
ties would work with landowners and
the USFWS to ensure compliance
with the ESA. The RPAs also laid out
extensive measures to be put in
place, in case of jeopardy to endan-
gered species, and measures to be
taken if communities did not comply
with those measures.
Part of the revised, final Monroe
case RPAs also cover what may
occur in the case of incidental taking
of endangered species where federal
permits are not required, but, at least
in some sense, the situation may not
be analogous. According to the inci-
dental take statement, taken from the
ESA, plants are not given the same
protections as animals listed as en-
dangered. They are only protected
from harm, on lands under Federal
jurisdiction, and on any lands if harm
occurs during commission of a crime
such as trespassing.
The presentation given by the
USFWS to homeowners said meas-
ures to reduce harm to the prickly-
apple could include surveying and
flagging plants to protect them during
Prickly apple
From PAGE 1
See PRICKLY APPLE on PAGE 9
June 3, 2014 GASPARILLA GAZETTE PAGE 9
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Come, kiss the moon with me.
We’ll float across the shadowed pond
And hear the bullfrog’s serenade.
We’ll fish for stars in the deep dim sky
And borrow lightning bugs for bait.
We’ll watch the spider weave her web
While others lie asleep in bed.
Come, kiss the moon with me.
We’ll lie among the spongy ferns
and let the dew anoint us.
We’ll drift between the soft brown moths
And let their wings caress us.
We’ll dance across the Queen Anne’s lace
And never leave a human trace.
Come, kiss the moon with me.
We’ll skip down rows of evening primrose
while daytime lilies slumber.
We’ll listen to the barred owl’s hoot
Echo through the quiet woods.
We’ll hitch a ride with a dragonfly
And swoop through nighttime’s darkened sky.
- Excerpt from Priscilla Kirkpatrick’s
poem from the book “Poets of Boca Grande”
MIDSUMMER MOON
project activities; training staff and
contractors to avoid impacts to
species; requiring certain fire sup-
pression resources; monitoring for ef-
fects to individuals and populations
of the species; adjusting placement
of new construction, roads, trails and
other development; and measures to
prevent the introduction of nonnative
species.
Warren said that public input is an
integral part of the process, and that
a public comment period will provide
people with an opportunity to weigh
in, once a draft of the designation is
published in the Federal Register.
“We want to base what we do on
the best science and let the public
weigh in. Someone may possess
valuable information (we don't al-
ready have),” he said.
He stressed that the bottom line,
for the USFWS, is the protection of
species, and added that even if an
area is not included in a critical habi-
tat designation, it is incumbent on
people to avoid harm. The whole
idea, he said, is to prevent taking of
these species, whether intentionally
or incidentally.
The USFWS, according to Warren,
is eager to work with owners to help
them carry out projects in a way that
will minimize jeopardy to endangered
species. Examples he gave included
altering floor or landscape plans
slightly.
He said that measures taken by
homeowners, in the case where no
federal nexus is involved, are largely
voluntary.
“The hope would be that real es-
tate agents would notify the property
owners (if there are critical species or
habitats for them on their property).”
People can also request a public
meeting after the public comment pe-
riod is passed, Warren said.
Part of their mission, he said, is to
present reasonable alternatives that
preserve the rights of property own-
ers, but also protect endangered
species.
The GICIA said they hoped to
avoid the issue altogether, and of-
fered to designate all of their conser-
vancy lands as habitat for the
prickly-apple, in a proposal to miti-
gate the effects of development on
privately owned residential land, but
were told by the USFWS that would
be impossible.
Prickly apple
from PAGE 3
T
his Saturday, June 7 from
8 to 11 p.m., the 10th an-
nual Howl at the Moon In-
vitational Tarpon Tournament,
sponsored by Gasparilla Outfit-
ters, will take place in Boca
Grande Pass. There are still slots
available.
The entry fee is $500 per four-
angler team. Prizes for first, sec-
ond and third place will be
awarded.
Contact Melina at Gasparillla
Outfitters, 964-0907, for more in-
formation.
Sign up now for ‘Howl
at the Moon’