Dredge work under way in Cortez channel
Dredge work is under way to clear out the Cortez fishing channel, the
Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage reported last
"Dredging has commenced," Allen
Garner, FISH president, told the board during a meeting Oct. 26 in Cortez. "They're
making progress. That's kind of exciting."
The work, coordinated by
the West Coast Inland Navigation District and urged
by FISH, began in early October.
all good stuff," Garner
said of the material being removed from the channel.
There had been concern there
might be pollution stirred up by the project, explained
FISH's Roger Allen.
very badly needed dredging," Allen
said. "The thing that finally brought the whole project around is they
tested the bottom and they found it is not polluted. It's clean. But that
was the big concern. Everybody was concerned about that."
To assist with
the dredge project, FISH allowed the operators to use
about seven acres of the FISH Preserve for retention of the dredged materials.
"The material comes out as very, very
wet - with a lot of sediment," Allen said. "It needs a place
where it can settle out.... So they've cleared an area, burned it
off, lined it with a membrane and pumped it into this retention area."
also benefited from that arrangement - before
the property could be used it had to be cleared of invasive, non-native Brazilian
pepper and Australian pine trees.
"When they're done, they'll
bring in a fresh layer of topsoil and ... we'll plant native species," Allen
said. "It's a great project for us....
They spent a lot of money
taking out the non-natives."
The board also discussed a grant request
with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program to nurture the
local scallop population and the continued interest in purchasing the
Seafood Shack property for a maritime museum and educational center.
Allen attended a recent conference that
involved discussions on legislation that might help
fund the preservation of traditional "working waterfronts" and boost efforts like FISH's
purchase of the Seafood Shack.
"People are out there doing astonishing
preservation in the state," Allen told the board.
On the restoration front,
Florida Sea Grant marine extension agent John Stevely
told the board he submitted a request for $2,000 for a small-scale scallop
Stevely said the plan calls
for spawning scallops in tanks and he has a local hatchery
producer interested in the effort to restore the scallop population adjacent
to the FISH Preserve.
find out about the proposal in January," he said. "I think it is
unique ... and we really
want to do something for the Village of Cortez."
In other FISH-related business
on Oct. 26:
reported that the 1890 Burton Store might be moved
in the next several weeks. The historic building
will be moved to the grounds of the 1912-built school that now houses
the Florida Maritime Museum.
- Garner reported that stone crab season
has started and "I haven't heard any complaints."
Molto said plans for the annual fishing festival,
scheduled for next Feb. 17-18, were going well.
"Everything is falling into
place," she said, adding that organizers expect to see a number
of returning artists.
- Mary Fulford Green announced
the Cortez Village Historical Society is producing
a new "What's
Cooking in Cortez" cookbook under a hard, padded cover. Green
said recipes should be sent to P.O. Box 463, Cortez
The next FISH
meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Cortez
Community Center, 4523 123rd St. Ct. W.