FWC to remove 12 derelict boats from Withlacoochee River, around Cedar Key
A dozen derelict vessels are being removed from the Withlacoochee River and around Cedar Key in Levy County.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced the project Wednesday, June 29, with the work starting June 21 with the removal of the “Miss Katherine,” a 38-foot shrimp boat, from the Withlacoochee River between Citrus and Levy counties.
“The ‘Miss Katherine’ has been derelict for several years and has been obstructing the Withlacoochee River,” Robert Johnston, an FWC area lieutenant in Levy County, said in an FWC news release.
Sammy Royal, of Sea Tow in Horseshoe Beach, is the FWC contractor removing the derelict vessels, which include five in the Withlacoochee River, six in waters surrounding Cedar Key, and a concrete-hull shrimp boat that’s been in the Wacassassa River for more than 20 years.
“I’ve been assigned to Levy County for the past 17 years, and some of these vessels were here before I arrived,” Johnston said. “Seeing these derelict vessels finally removed means so much to me and my crew. I’m glad to see these go.”
According to the FWC, the derelict vessel removal is being funded by an FWC program with monies the FWC is only allowed to use to contract removal projects.
FWC officials also fund a separate derelict-vessel-removal program local governments can apply for to get grants to pay for their own projects.
FWC grant funding for the 2021-22 fiscal year to remove derelict vessels has already been exhausted, but applications are being accepted for the agency’s 2022/23 budget. FWC funding for local derelict vessel removals will be available beginning July 1.