Your immediate help is needed to save several acres of grass beds in the Florida panhandle.

For a short synopsis and background on this issue . . . Florida Clean Water Network, Santa Rosa Sound Coalition and several other local groups and individuals have been working to protect the few remaining grass beds in the Pensacola Bay System for several decades.  The project at hand was initiated almost 20 years ago and refuses to die.  Even Bobby Cooley, former DEP NW District Director, told the applicants many years ago to stop wasting money on consultants as the project would never get permitted under Florida law.  But like so many bad ideas, it was a matter of waiting for the right political stars to align.

At stake are grass beds in the Santa Rosa Sound, which contains most of the scarce remaining grass beds in the highly polluted, severely stressed Pensacola Bay System.  In spite of their value to the ecosystem, Santa Rosa County has applied for a permit to dredge three (3)  30′ wide channels through healthy submerged grasses to accommodate approximately 25 home/boat owners located on a canal in a 50+ year-old neighborhood.  Yes, having a deep-water channel to the Intercoastal waterway would likely make their lots more valuable down the road, but that hardly constitutes a “public interest or necessity”.

Not surprisingly, Rick Scott’s DEP has given this project a permit in spite of many, many deficiencies.  Now it is up to the Corps of Engineers to say “yeah or nay.”  Our five-page comment letter articulates why the answer should continue to be NO!!! Thank you to Frances Dunham for her excellent work on this issue and especially this comment letter.

If the Corps should decide to allow the destruction of these grass beds, there will be a flood of applications across the panhandle and possibly the state, from other greedy people who want state and federal laws ignored for them also. Please help us!!! Let the Corps know that we value our grass beds and the service they provide to our waters and the marine life that they support.  Let’s speak loud and clear for our resources!!!

To sign on just an email to me at with the name of your organization, or business or individual self.  Make sure you send your town or county.  You can also send  this link to others and ask for their support as well.

If you would like to see the five page comment letter, send me a request by email and I will send the letter to you right away.

On behalf of all the scallops, crabs, fish, manatees, etc. that live in our grass beds across the state, thank you for taking the time to help!

Linda Young
Executive Director
Florida Clean Water Network
P.O. Box 5124
Navarre, FL  32566

About the Author

Linda Young has been the executive director of the Clean Water Network of Florida since 1994. From 1989 to 1997, she founded and published a monthly statewide environmental newspaper. Over the past twenty three years, she has co-founded some of the most long-lasting and effective environmental organizations in the Southeast, including the Gulf Restoration Network, Gulf Coast Environmental Defense and C.A.T.E. She holds a B.A. in Communications from Southern Oregon University and a M.A. in Political Science/Campaign Management from the University of West Florida.

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