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September 2008: Eye on Broward County Environmental Protection Opinions by Leigh Fulghum, botanist, marine scientist, landscape designer

Sheridan Street Natural Area Addition: just what sort of a "Green Space" are we talking about here? Sheridan Street Natural Area Addition

Rearing its head in the mid-1980's, herald of the nativity of federal wetlands protection, the county environmental protection Department functions as "the gatekeeper" of who is allowed to get what out of or do what to the last shreds of undeveloped or technically protected lands in the county. Its primary concern is to act as an enabling veil for inside real estate deals which take place at the pleasure of the Board of Commissioners, a claim readily substantiated through investigation of the Department environmental permit filing cabinets in conjunction with monitoring certain cases in situ. In fact the Department has grossly failed to enforce a deliberately undecipherable amount of mitigation owed the public for environmental impacts particularly on the maximum value coastal lands.

From its happy balloon, birthday cake-filled suites and cubicles in downtown Fort Lauderdale's former M. Sterling elegant clothiers building, the Department regularly cranks out richly colored pamphlets, reports and brochures, extolling the achievements of the Commissioners who purchase and take over the maintenance liabilities of the wastelands and debris mounds of certain developers, for our future enjoyment.

Here is a classic instance of insincerely smiling officials and higher-ups in the Department using taxpayer dollars for the dissemination of keyword propaganda to hoodwink sincere citizens and innocent children:

According to the gaudy Safe Parks and Land Preservation Bond Program 2006 Annual Report, "Green Spaces, although still valuable ecologically, have been generally more impacted than Conservation Lands, making them more difficult to restore. Green Spaces only retain some aspects of the native vegetative community, and they often serve as buffers or connectors to environmentally sensitive lands and Conservation Lands."

Brandishing a signature Departmental environmental haughtiness the report is a glossy coated triumph of desktop fabrication. Pedestrian boxes, charts and graphics are employed to distract both brain and eye from certain parcels of land which have been over-valued by the Department for acquisition and purchase by the Commissioners through a county bond issue. Land Defined as More Difficult to RestoreFor example, The "Sheridan Street Natural Area Addition" for appraisal purposes was erroneously classified in the more valuable category of "green space" when in reality it scarcely qualifies as a highly disturbed and hazardously littered unlit vacant lot.

An independent botanist can determine in less than an hour consultation that this hugely impacted wetland, once a private investor nightmare, is now a county nightmare which makes a mockery of federal, state, and city environmental objectives. Indeed, the east Hollywood 5.4 acre wetland-turned-fill-dump on the corner of Sheridan St. and S.E. 5th Ave. presently offers more potential for fines, litigation, pollution, mosquito breeding, and bodily injury, than for contributing to a higher quality environment or buffering a sensitive ecosystem. Not just impacted, but rock-solid compacted, there are scant to no native plants present, but a typical spoil mound ecology on the dredged lime rock, contemptuously maintained by the county with a waste of labor, gas, oil and herbicide. Such evidence is readily collected by establishing quadrants and transects in one's head, fording a $200,000 chemically treated eutrophic retention morass, and embarking on a perilous trek across the million dollar Dome of Dredge and Fill.


to be continued...

Features of The Sheridan Street Natural Area Addition

The Dome of Dredge and Fill
The Wall of Tires
Groundwater Protection Systems
Natural Habitat Area I
Natural Habitat Area II
Sculpture and Vignette
Picnic and Party Facilities

A Single Specimen On a Wall of Tires
Mowed Down Garbage Landscaper Dumping Groundwater Contamination Construction Debris Wall of Tires
Re-bar Projections Marked for the Mowing Crew Picnic Site on the Dome of Dredge and Fill A Fringe Habitat for Humanity


About the Author

Leigh Fulghum, part of whose family has dwelt in South Florida since 1913, hopes to inspire an independent citizens testing agency, for publication of true and actual findings from the unbiased analysis of a variety of environmental, ecological, food and cosmetic samplings, particularly for their affect on the quality of life and health for humans, plants, and animals in South Florida.


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