Saturday, August 6, 2016

Block Beruff's Boat Channel in Sarasota Bay - UPDATE

NEWS: This story now has an important update.

It seems developer Carlos Beruff wishes to create an artificial break in Sarasota bay:

Long Bar Pointe developer Carlos Beruff has convinced the state to permit a mitigation bank that he wants to use to help him destroy local wetlands.

Please read this editorial from the Bradenton Times, which is reproduced below in case the site is busy or down. Then write or email.

The Army Corp of Engineers have requested for you to comment. Take the time to write or call before it is too late.

Contact Ms. Amy Thompson :
electronic mail at,
fax at 
telephone at 

or at the following address: 

P. O. BOX 4970

1. The mitigation bank will have a 120-foot break in the most natural shoreline along Sarasota Bay. This break is the location that Beruff has proposed a new boat channel cutting through high-quality mangroves and virgin sea grass. This break along the coastal area will prevent wildlife from using this natural corridor and have adverse impacts on wildlife and the wetlands.

2. The mitigation bank does not meet the requirements to preserve the land and water in the existing, natural condition. Beruff has convinced the state to allow trimming mangroves in the mitigation bank for his development and includes a conceptual mangrove trimming plan. This violates state permitting for trimming mangroves, yet the provision is in his state permit that would allow trimming in a mitigation bank. This contravenes the conservation easement requirements to maintain the bank in the exiting, natural condition, which the trimming of mangroves adversely impacts.

3. The mitigation bank will forever change the aesthetics along the last remaining shoreline by reserving a boat channel area through mangroves and sea grass, trimming of mangroves and placing buoys along the shoreline.

4. The bank should be considered the first phase of development for Long Bar Pointe, with a new boat channel and a marina—which Manatee County residents overwhelmingly opposed at one of the longest and most attended meeting in Manatee County’s history. The ACOE should reject this policy of using a mitigation bank to disguise the total impacts from a master plan Beruff has to impact the environment.

5. The mitigation bank would create additional flood hazards by not maintaining in the existing natural state, the existing shoreline. The mitigation bank credits would allow removing the mangroves along the shoreline. These mangroves buffer the shore and structures from storms and waves.

6. The mitigation bank has used artificial credits to justify the destroying of the environment, creating future unmitigated adverse impacts on fish and wildlife values. Once a credit is issued based on "fake lift" then Beruff or others can use these credits to destroy the environment without equal compensation. For example, Beruff's plans to place buoys, not on his property but in state waters, at a cost of around $6,000. For this, will get around seven credits to possibly allow destruction of seven acres of sea grass. No sea grasses are ever created to offset those destroyed. He claims he is preserving sea grass that would have been impacted when, essentially, he would get to destroy sea grasses without creating any. The fact is that sea grass in Sarasota Bay has exceeded their goal now by over 3,000 acres, mostly in the area around Long Bar Pointe because of the work of the National Estuary Program. Beruff states unfounded claims this area is impacted by high nutrient loading. Historical trends shows sea grass not there in the 1980s came back steadily. Hence, the only preservation we need is protection from this poorly conceived development.

7. Since the mitigation bank separation along the shoreline is for ripping out mangroves and sea grasses for a new channel, there will be shoreline erosion and accretion. When boats use a channel, turbidity increases, silt is sent on top of the sea grasses and adverse impacts are created. This is the reason the county prohibits new channels. However, Beruff and company don’t like policies to protect the environment if they impede development and sued the county, arguing that their rules were not legal. The Judge correctly noted it was within the county’s powers to protect the welfare of the public. Beruff did not like the Judge’s decision and appealed, costing taxpayers more money defending what should be logical and reasonable for protecting our quality of life.

8. Another issue that the state reviewer noted was that the proposed mitigation bank "is little more than what would be expected to occur in the 'without bank' scenario, as only approximately 8 acres of mangroves are being preserved from trimming beyond what would already be required, the sea grass areas and remaining mangroves are already protected and any impacts would have to be mitigated, and the exotic removal in the upland portions of the proposed bank would be required by local ordinances." Credits are not supposed to be issued if local state or federal rules would require the same action.

9. Most of the mitigation bank requests credits for preservation. The ACOE states "preservation may be included as the sole basis for credits only under exceptional circumstances." This is not an exceptional circumstance, and the ACOE needs to give this so called mitigation bank the quick red light.

The mitigation bank as proposed is technically infeasible, and should not be processed because of the issues stated above. Any mitigation bank proposal that does not preserve the entire shoreline should be rejected. It also sets a bad precedent for future mitigation banks.

The community needs to help protect this last part of natural shoreline along Sarasota Bay, known as the "Kitchen." It is the most productive habitat and the genesis for sea life throughout our area. Our recreational and commercial fisherman can’t afford to lose more resources. Our ecotourism depends on this natural shoreline.

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