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Florida DEP sends city warning letter over canal maintenance work

By Staff | Aug 9, 2019

*Editors Note: The article has been changed to reflect Ripple Lake LLC as the property owners.

The city of Cape Coral received a warning letter from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection earlier in the week citing bad environmental practices after conducting a complaint inspection.

The city’s canal maintenance work in Coral Pointe Canal came under scrutiny from the FDEP. The city said the maintenance work was done to remove invasive plants from the aforementioned canal.

The property owners, Ripple Lake LLC out of Naples, also received the letter.

In the letter, FDEP stated that its personnel noted the following during the Aug. 2 inspection:

* Unauthorized dredge and fill impacts to wetlands

* Unauthorized mangrove alteration

* Failure to install and utilize appropriate Best Management Practices during in-water construction

* Failure to obtain coverage under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Construction Generic Permit for construction activities that disturb one or more acres of land.

The FDEP has requested that that city contact it within 15 days of the letter, dated Aug. 6, to arrange a meeting to discuss the matter.

“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,” said Maureen Buice, Cape Coral spokesperson via email. “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 letter to the city states that “violations of Florida Statues or administrative rules may result in liability for damages and restoration, and the judicial imposition of civil penalties.”

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