The canal system in Hernando County would get a closer look under a proposed feasibility study.
The Aquatic Services and Waterways Department wants to evaluate areas of concern west of U.S. Highway 19 and develop a dredging plan where appropriate.
County Commission Chair John Allocco says a canal restoration project in Citrus County several years ago dramatically improved water quality.
“Basically sucking up the bottom of the canals and replanting superstar eel grass,” he explained, “what it did was it actually increased the flow (of the river), because it uncapped some of the natural springs.”
Hernando County Resident Tabitha Allen has property on a canal. She says if the county does any dredging, she does not want it to damage natural habitat that is thriving.
“That’s where the real eelgrass is. That’s where our manatees hide and come and eat,” she said. “We shouldn’t have to replant when we have an amazing abundance of eelgrass in those canals.”
Allocco agreed they would do any dredging purposefully and with care.
The county estimates a comprehensive canal feasibility study would cost about $300,000. It will ask the state to fund $200,000 of the expense.