Petition to Save Mayan Beach Sand Dune Racks Up Signatures; Will DEP Take Notice?

Categories: Environment
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In three days, more than 480 people have signed a petition to save the Mayan Beach Sand Dune in Fort Lauderdale from destruction.

Spearheaded by the Sea Turtle Oversight Protection, the petition is the latest development in a battle between developers and environmentalists that has stretched for more than a year.

"Private property owners want to demolish the dune because the view of the ocean is slightly obstructed by it," Richard WhiteCloud, founding director of STOP, tells New Times. The dune provides crucial protection for sea turtle nests and helps beat back floodwaters. "The storm we just had is a fresh reminder of what dune systems do, especially considering we had three feet of water on parts of A1A."

WhiteCloud and Broward County have challenged the Department of Environmental Protection's decision to approve destruction of the dune, but have had little success.

"The DEP is nothing but a political tool. Their agenda is to not protect the environment and that's indicative of how this case went down," WhiteCloud says.

Behind the destruction of the dune are two plush real estate plots, the Mayan Beach Club and Ocean Lane Villas. The nonprofit STOP challenged plans to destroy the dune and provided evidence that an illegal concrete sidewalk was poured and vegetation on the dune was being illegally uprooted, WhiteCloud says.

Yet the DEP "summarily dismissed" the evidence, ignored testimony on best-scientific practices from marine turtle experts, and denied STOP's appeals.

It's hardly the first controversy involving complaints against the DEP, an agency in which the director is under federal investigation for potentially violating the Clean Water Act and the number two man is the son of a powerful lobbyist with environmental ties. Under Gov. Rick Scott's direction, the DEP has been repeatedly blasted for taking an industry-first approach to environmental protection.

With few legal options left to pursue, WhiteCloud launched the petition to raise public awareness on the plight of the dune. At the time of writing, it was only 17 signatures shy of the targeted 500 signatures.

"The environment is going to suffer. Sea turtles are going to suffer. Migratory bird populations that depend on that dune as a fuel stop are going to suffer. And all because someone wants a better view of the ocean," WhiteCloud says.




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3 comments
stlchris
stlchris

I live near the dune.  There are NO turtle nests on the dune.  The turtles do not travel that far from the water and then up a hill to lay their eggs.  Turtles lay their eggs all up and down the beach.  There is NEVER a larger concentration of nests directly near the dune and there never has been. Removing this dune will NOT impede the turtles or birds.  I NEVER see migratory birds nesting there.  I see no value to the dune.  If the dune is on Mayan Beach Club PRIVATE property, they should be able to do what they want.  And no I do not live at the Mayan Beach club but if I spent that much money to have an ocean front property and then I couldn't see the ocean, I would want it gone too!!!

SeaTurtlesFTL
SeaTurtlesFTL

Thank the stars Hurricane Sandy didn't happen in August. The ONLY sea turtle nests that would have survived this would be on the Mayan Dune (which won't be there next year according to Keith Beck of the Mayan Beach Club) It will be destroyed because they need a better view of the ocean.  Disgusting. 

smdrpepper
smdrpepper

 @stlchris Enjoy the storm surge getting into your house and flooding everything then.  THATS why there are dunes out there.

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