The St Johns River Water Management District, and its partners, are undergoing a project in Flagler County in an attempt to reverse what the Army Corp of Engineers did over 70 years ago when trying to control mosquito populations by creating Dragline Ditches through the wetlands.
However, this specific area in Flagler County has, through natural succession, healed itself and is currently a healthy, thriving estuary that is home to thousands of protected Black & Red Mangroves, Saltmarsh grasses, and other vegetation which provides a perfect sanctuary for the abundant Fish, Birds, Crustaceans, Oyster Reefs, Otters, Manatees, Turtles, and much more. This area is not in need of restoration, as it currently provides everything that they are hoping to restore to the area. This invasive process requires a large amphibious excavator to bulldoze islands, bury the mature Mangroves, Oak trees, Cedar trees and Palm trees into the water. They don't have evidence of exactly how long it will take for the area to recover fully. Though their motives are well-intentioned, they do not have any site- specific scientific studies of the project area, do not have site-specific studies of their past projects (which have received much criticism from the communities which are still affected negatively post-restoration) and do not have plans to do so in the future. This project is flawed. It needs more time and grant money in order to do it correctly with as few negative impacts as possible. As it is, it looks more like demolition than restoration.
Another flaw in the District's methods, is in regards to their inadequate testing for DDT/Organochlorines that could have accumulated at the base of these islands and would then be released into the adjacent waterways as a result of the destruction of the islands and dredging that is occurring. We have asked that they repeat the Core Sample testing in order to get a more accurate result by sampling all the way to the bases of the islands vs. their approach of only sampling 0-12" from the tops of the islands. This request has been repeatedly denied. So, in an effort to offer another layer of protection to the estuary and its surrounding environment, the stakeholders are in the process of having the sampling done. We have contracted with a reputable company in Florida, Terracon, to do the sampling but the cost is $7,200.00. This sampling includes not only testing for DDT/DDE but 20 different organochlorine pesticides that may be released into the environment. We have raised some but not enough to cover the full amount. We need about $4,000.00 more to get it fully funded so we can move forward with the testing.
Though the project is still moving forward at this time, we are hoping that this testing will provide the answers we need to make sure that the health and future of this estuary and nearby waterways are impacted as minimally as possible. Any amount would help tremendously. Thank you for your help!
This link will explain more about this project:
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