Pinellas County rejects proposed sailing center to protect rare egret

The county turned down the proposed development in Dunedin, calling it a threat to the reddish egret, the rarest egret species in North America

Jun.June 24, 2018 03:00 PM

A reddish egret at a park in Safety Harbor (Credit: Jim Damaske/ Tampa Bay Times)

The development-review arm of Pinellas County rejected a proposed sailing center just north of Clearwater, calling it a threat to the rarest egret species in North America.

The project in Dunedin would have destroyed the foraging habitat of the reddish egret, according to Blake Lyon, director of development review services for Pinellas County.

The reddish egret nearly disappeared from Florida in the 1880s, when hunters killed many of them for their feathers during the peak of the plume trade.

The rare egrets weren’t seen again in Florida until the 1930s and remained absent from Tampa Bay until the mid-1970s.

The entity behind the proposed sailing center in Dunedin was the Dunedin Community Sailing Foundation, formed in 2016 solely to build a sailing center for young people, military veterans, disabled people and student sailors.

The foundation acquired the proposed sailing-center site at Dunedin Causeway and Woodett Drive as a gift in December. [Tampa Bay Times] – Mike Seemuth

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