Cape Coral fined thousands for ripping up mangroves

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The City of Cape Coral is getting fined thousands of dollars on Wednesday for ripping out protected mangroves at Four Mile Cove.

Alyn Kay used to work for the South Florida Water Management District. As an expert in landscape architecture and erosion control, he calls what is happening with the mangroves at Four Mile Cove, a “massacre.”

WINK News went out on a boat with Kay and Joe Cruz, who lives along the Coral Pointe Canal to get a closer look at the damage workers caused in August 2019.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection stepped in and stopped all work after learning Cape Coral crews had ripped out an estimate of over 6,000 sq. feet of mangroves.

Now, it wants the city to pay $7,000 and follow a strict list of corrective actions. That includes more than $5,000 in penalties. But the city can offer up an ‘in-kind’ project, which means other environmental enhancements or restoration.

The DEP draft order calls on the city to remove the leftover invasive exotic vegetation and replant 160-gallon red mangrove plants, among other things. But Kay fears the consequences that come with the longer it takes for that restoration to happen.

“You’re gonna have more erosion,” Kay said. “More erosion means more restoration.”

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