Environmental

Mayan Beach Club Condo Complex Destroys Sand Dune in Fort Lauderdale Beach

The Mayan Beach Club has obliterated a 176-foot-long sand dune on Fort Lauderdale's beach that helped prevent beach erosion and provided a nesting place for endangered green sea turtles, because the it blocked the view of the ocean.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection apparently made the beach club prove that the removal of the dune wouldn't cause beach erosion and wouldn't be detrimental to the area's protected vegetation, nesting turtles, or their baby turtles.

According to the condo's attorney, Mitchell Burnstein, their final analysis -- done by coastal engineers -- found the dune to be too isolated to stop storm surges or beach erosion.

Richard WhiteCloud, head of Sea Turtle Oversight Protection, said the Florida Department of Environmental Protection was a little too accommodating to the condo association and it's plans to destroy the dune. He also says Gov. Rick Scott helped in getting rid of the dune.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson, Dee Ann Miller, said their ultimate decision was governed by "science and the law."

"In the case of the permit for the Mayan Beach Club, not only did the application undergo the thorough review of our regulatory program staff; the permit decision also went before administrative law judge who upheld the issuance of the permit after hearing the evidence and science not only from DEP and the applicant, but the petitioner as well," she wrote in an email. "This permit has undergone a rigorous review and administrative process."

WhiteCloud referred to an email from Scott where governor expressed his wish to reduce "unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape" in regulatory reviews.

WhiteCloud also says the environmental agency dismissed the best available science, and treated the condo association as a customer.

"These people were intent on obliterating a dune system," WhiteCloud said. "And the governor helped do that."



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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph