For the second time in three years, the public has convinced the Indian River County Commission to leave the Oslo Boat Ramp and surrounding area alone.
Numerous scientists came to the microphone Tuesday to relate the importance of the area as a fish hatchery, the only site along the lagoon known to harbor four species: snook, tarpon, red drum and spotted sea trout.
About 75 people showed up at the Feb. 13 county meeting, nearly all raising their hands when asked “who is against the Oslo Boat Ramp project?” by Pelican Island Audubon Society President Richard Baker.
The county commission was revisiting the project it tabled three years ago because of a similar deluge of citizen protest. The county staff dutifully put it on the agenda for reconsideration after the allotted time. The issue also arose again because the county had sought and gotten permits three years ago from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that needed to be used or closed and filed.
Staff scaled the project back to a bare minimum, scrapping the idea of a parking lot, leaving only “stabilizing” a road to the dock by paving it with asphalt or concrete millings and removing muck from a channel dredged many years ago, to be made clearer with more channel markers.
The scientists contested the existence of muck and said the shell and sand road in existence was environmentally neutral or beneficial, while asphalt and concrete were harmful. More channel markers would be dangerous, they said.
Commission Chairman Peter O’Bryan didn’t want the project killed altogether, insisting the muck needed to be removed. The other four members agreed to kill the project altogether, outvoting O’Bryan, and the crowd cheered.