Friday, September 25, 2009

Newest Threat to the Everglades?

Venus, FL - - Save Our Creeks has reviewed the materials submitted to the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners and concludes that the proposed re-zoning and Comprehensive Plan Amendment required for the Eagle National Security Training Center poses a real threat to the natural environment of the Fisheating Creek watershed. Below are Save Our Creeks’ specific comments. Comments have been submitted to each of the five Highlands County Commissioners and are part of the public record.

1. Save Our Creeks agrees with and supports the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s comments of February 10, 2009. The re-zoning of the land and associated comprehensive plan amendment will have direct, foreseeable, negative impacts to existing wetlands, floodplains, water quality, and water quantity.

2. Save Our Creeks agrees with and supports the South Florida Water Management District’s comments of February 16, 2009. The proposed comprehensive plan amendment to the Future Land Use Map projects a water demand for which a sustainable source has not been identified. There is potential for negative impact due to decreased natural flow of water to the Fisheating Creek watershed.

3. Save Our Creeks agrees with and supports the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s comment of February 16, 2009, that the proposed project is adjacent to the Fisheating Creek Ecosystem Florida Forever project. Fisheating Creek continues to be a Group A project on the Florida Forever acquisition list. Fisheating Creek is one of the largest fairly natural areas in the Florida peninsula. It is important for the protection of rare plants and animals. The area includes large populations of three plants endemic to central Florida: Edison’s ascyrum (Hypericum edisonianum), cutthroat grass (Panicum abscissum), and nodding pinweed (Lechea cernua). Fisheating Creek is extremely important as a Strategic Habitat Conservation Area for the Florida panther and the American swallow-tailed kite, as well for such animals as Audubon’s crested caracara, snail kite, Florida grasshopper sparrow, Florida sandhill crane, mottled duck, red-cockaded woodpecker, and short-tailed hawk. At least six bald eagle nests are known to be in this project area.

4. Save Our Creeks has reviewed the Settlement Agreement and remains concerned that the comments of these three State Agencies are not adequately addressed to protect the natural environment of the Fisheating Creek watershed

Save Our Creeks urges the Highlands County Commission to vote against Resolution P&Z 1961 re-zoning the property and against Comprehensive Plan Amendment CPA-08-481LS.

Copies of the original letters are available upon request to .

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