DEP sends Cape Coral warning letter over destroyed mangroves, other violations

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Mangroves and vegetation is ripped from the ground along a Cape Coral canal and neighbors are upset, but now, so is the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The City  told people living along the canal that crews were just getting rid of invasive trees but last week neighbors said they weren’t buying that.

In a two page warning letter, the DEP called out the City of Cape Coral over dredging and clearing along the Coral Point Canal.

Joanne Payne is just one of the neighbors who immediately started searching for answers when she saw construction workers tearing out mangroves across from her house, in Cape Coral’s Four Mile Cove Preserve.

In the letter sent Tuesday to the City and the property owner, Ripple Lake LLC, investigators list four possible violations.

They include failure to install and utilize best management practices during in-water construction and unauthorized mangrove alteration.

In an email to WINK News, City of Cape Coral Public Information Specialist Maureen Buice wrote:

“The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) sent a letter advising of potential violations as a result of an inspection of the City’s canal maintenance work performed in the Coral Pointe Canal. The purpose of the maintenance work was removal of invasive exotic vegetation from the canal bank, which impeded drainage and restricted navigation. The vegetation had overgrown more than half the width of the canal restricting safe navigation for boaters. The City is fully committed to protecting our environment and we are working jointly with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to address these issues and prevent future issues.”

The DEP calls the violation serious and “Intends to pursue formal enforcement in this matter … Restoration of the shoreline and wetlands will be required, as well as civil penalties”.

There is urgency here. This is more than just a letter sent to the City and property owner.

They were each given just 15 days to get in touch with the DEP.

DOCUMENT: Read the warning letter to the City of Cape Coral from the DEP

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