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Florida Fish and Wildlife given boating award

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was recognized by the States Organization for Boating Access for its efforts to increase access in the Sunshine State.

The FWC brought home the Boating Access Program Excellence Award for 2008 at the SOBA annual conference in Norfolk, Va.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended the FWC for SOBA's boating access program award because of its leadership in addressing the challenges of providing and maintaining boating access in a highly urbanized and ecologically sensitive environment.

Currently, the state manages and controls more than 250 boat ramps that provide access to fresh water, intracoastal waterways and marine environments. The FWC, in partnership with other state agencies, has replaced or constructed new ramps and built or expanded public marinas. Six new sites also are in the planning stages.

There are more than 1 million registered boats in Florida. Experts estimate the number of trailered boats vying for existing boat ramps will double, along with the human population, from about 900,000 boats on trailers to nearly 1.8 million by 2060, the agency says.

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