FLORIDA CITY, Fla., Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Outboard motors may be banned from use in a portion of Florida Bay as part of an effort to protect seagrass in Everglades National Park, officials said.
Matthew Schwartz, Everglades chairman of the Broward Group of the Sierra Club, said the proposed no-motor zone would allow seagrass areas in the Florida park to recover from damage done by boat propellers, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Saturday.
"This is really a historic step for the National Park Service," Schwartz said. "It would actually be the first time in their history they took a piece of the marine environment and made it off-limits to motorized recreation."
Boaters traveling through the proposed no-motor zone would be required to move their vessels using push poles and paddles instead of motors.
The popularity of Florida Bay as a fishing destination has resulted in significant damage to the bay bottom, fishing guide Richard Grathwohl told the Sun-Sentinel.
"It's got a whole bunch of motor scars," Grathwohl said. "Every effort we put into this is going to help up in the long run."