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Fort Myers Beach community fights mangrove clearing in Old Pelican Bay

Posted at 1:30 AM, Apr 23, 2022

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — “If you come out here and look just behind me here, you can see that a lot of the mangroves are no longer here.”

Mangroves have been part of Terry Carlson's home in Old Pelican Bay since he first moved there almost twenty years ago. But recently, that's started to change.

It's all part of a project for a new development that he says spans decades - but construction didn't start until just months ago.

“Until you could actually see the mangroves get torn out, I didn’t really know what was happening here and so it really caught us off guard," says Carlson.

With his neighbor, Terry filed a petition to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to try to stop the progress.

He says that the builder's construction work goes well beyond it's flagged borders, damaging the mangroves in the process.

But when it was surveyed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, they told Terry that there weren't any issues.

“As to the mangroves, I really have no comment. I’m sympathetic, I understand the people may not want the natural beauty of their residential area altered. But again, in terms of the army corps of engineers permit, the permit is within compliance," says David Ruderman, spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps.

But Terry isn't giving up, and says they'll be refiling a new petition soon.

“If you read about it, the number one protection for our homes in this area from hurricanes and severe weather is mangroves. So it’s actually a threat to property and life as well as ripping out the environment," he says.

If you want to read more about Terry's campaign against the construction, visit his website here.