Monday, February 27, 2017

Letter regarding endangered species near Celery Fields public lands

Date: February 27, 2017

To Sarasota County Commission: Michael Moran, Paul Caragiulo, Nancy Detert, Al Maio, Charles Hines

To County Administrator: Thomas Harmer
Cc: Sarasota Citizens

From: Adrien Lucas, Sarasota County Resident

Re: Violations of U.S. Endangered Species Act “ESA” and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Imperiled Species Protections

To Whom it May Concern:

Today I wish to directly address endangered and threatened birds I have personally seen on the surplus lands the county is trying to sell next to Our Celery Field.  One exception, the Everglade Snail Kite, a sighting I did not witness but has been reported seen at Our Celery Field.

As cited in my previous email about our County Comprehensive Plan, there has been a failure to employ the following in relation to protections afforded to endangered and threatened birds along with further development of surrounding county lands that surround the Celery Field.

(Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan, 2/6/17, Policy List by Chapter

Page 15 of 54 env obj 1.6 Integrate natural elements into the built environment. env policy 1.6.1 Encourage connectivity within the Urban Service Area Boundary between green spaces creating corridors for birds, fish, and wildlife movement. Priority will be given in creating or enhancing connections that achieve greater net ecological benefit compared to maintaining existing isolated habitat fragments.

Page 17 of 54 env policy 1.8.3 The county will establish and maintain wildlife corridors and coordinate with state and federal wildlife agencies when reviewing development proposals within the Joint Planning Areas set forth in Future Land Use Map Series.

Page 18 of 54 env obj 2.1 habitat for birds, fish, and wildlife Protect habitat for endangered and threatened bird and wildlife species identified in official federal, state, or international treaty lists.

I am fearful that environmental county staff inspections on these properties will be skewed to assist the sales of these lands. Based on watching past county commission and planning board meetings, I have seen county staffer such as Matt Osterhoudt and others state during their environmental observations that they did not see any sign of wildlife on the lands they were surveying. I am happy to email you video clips of these reports. How a person who supposedly has a background in environmental studies cannot see a single living creature on Florida land is very difficult for me to digest, considering at any given time during the day, I look out my window and see anoles, bugs, butterflies and numerous bird species.

I will take the necessary steps to ensure that the appropriate State and Federal agencies conduct independent studies, separate from county staff, in order to provide accurate sampling in identifying endangered, threatened, and species of special concern. From nesting disruption, noise disruption any infraction within a 600 foot rate, the FWC will be concerned about these clear future violations.  I believe that full disclosure to potential buyers in the county invitation to bid were never disclosed regarding the close proximity and sighting of these birds on the lands that are in pending sales or just put up for sale.

I have listed the birds I have personally witnessed and enjoyed at both Our Celery Field and on properties that surround Our Celery Field.  The birds listed below are protected by both Federal and State of Florida conservation laws because they are in danger of Extinction or Threatened.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services ECOS Environmental Online Services
CLICK HERE for source for source.

The Everglade Snail Kite is recognized as Federally listed and are a Species in danger of Extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

Everglade snail kite
Wherever found

The Crested Caracara and Wood Stork are both Federally listed as Threatened Species, likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

Audubon's crested caracara
U.S.A. (FL)

Wood stork
U.S.A. (AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC)

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Brown Pelican - FL Status: State Species of Special Concern
Caracara - FL Status: Federally-designated Threatened
Florida Sandhill Crane - FL Status: State-designated Threatened
Everglade Snail Kite - Federal Status: Endangered
Little Blue Heron - FL Status: State Species of Special Concern
Reddish Egret - FL Status: State Species of Special Concern0
Limpkin - FL Status: State Species of Special Concern
Roseate Spoonbill - FL Status: State-designated Threatened
American Kestrel - FL Status: State-designated Threatened
Tri-colored Heron - FL Status: State Species of Special Concern
White Ibis - FL Status: State Species of Special Concern

Celery Field Facebook Group documented bird photos:


Wood Storkl Jan 2016 - Status - Federally Threatened.jpg

Roseate Spoonbill Nov 2016 - Status - State Designated Threatened.jpg

Osprey Feb 2016 - Status - State Species of Special Concern.jpg

American Kestrel Jan 2016 - Status - Federally Threatened listed as threatened in Florida due to a decline in nesting and foraging habitat.jpg

Save Our Celery Field & Celery Neighborhoods, Rally Day, Saturday, February 25, 2017, Cattle Egrets foraging for food on pending Restaurant Depot acreage.  County Staff and JDMH representative both stated that no wildlife lives on this property.  Birds visit this property daily.

I remain hopeful that you all will do what is in the best interest for everyone in Sarasota and that is to Save Our Celery Field and expand it for future use and enjoyment for all. Respectfully,

Adrien Lucas

Zoning's Fundamental Purpose is to Protect a Community's Health, Safety and Welfare. - Source CLICK HERE (


  1. Thank you SO much for taking the time to produce this letter and to challenge our local government that seems hellbent on covering every green space with concrete.

  2. Thank you for reading it! It's Our Celery Field!!
    Adrien Lucas