HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. — A new bill proposed by State Representative Ralph Massullo is looking to create an aquatic preserve along the coasts of Hernando, Pasco, and Citrus counties. 

  • Proposed bill to create aquatic preserve along coasts of:
    • Hernando
    • Pasco
    • Citrus
  • Goal is to protect offshore seagrass along coast
  • Citrus, Pasco leaders to discuss bill next

The proposed preserve would connect with the current preserve to the north and south of the area. The goal is to protect offshore seagrass along the coast. 

However, Hernando County Commissioners are concerned having the state regulate the area would impact current projects they're working on in the area. 

"We've invested in the aquatic side of the county. We've done some planning and we've been vigilant in trying to do things that are good and right for the environment," Hernando County Commission Chair John Mitten said. "I think this has a certain redundancy. This has already been noted. It is prohibitive to potential planning for Hernando County. I've mentioned from the beginning it would be great to have an opt in at the county level."

While one resident sees the aquatic preserve as a compliment to the efforts the county has made along the coast.

“Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus counties are blessed with over 400,000 acres of seagrass which is critical habitat, like a nursery, for all forms of fish and sea product growth," resident Charles Greenwell said. "Hernando County has 180,000 acres itself.” 

Citrus County officials plan to discuss the bill during the meeting Thursday afternnon.  Pasco leaders will discuss it February 18.