Let’s start with this: everything is not about money. Sometimes we have to recognize a greater good that overrides rich people’s desire to be richer. I’m talking, of course, about Texas Hold ‘Em, LLC and Squeeze Me In, LLC’s drive to endanger a conservation area in the interest of enhancing their property values. They feel inconvenienced by the perpetual movement of sand and water that characterizes life on a barrier island. They are disappointed that these naturally occurring changes resulted in making them walk farther to the beach than they’d like. They’re angry that despite buying a property abutting an established Critical Wildlife Area (CWA), the town continues to assert that this fragile, ecologically important area needs to be preserved and protected, that it a source of pride for the island, not a nuisance.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife: “CWAs are discrete sites, such as mangrove islands or sandbars, where species gather daily or seasonally for essential activities, such as breeding, feeding or resting. The FWC establishes CWAs at sites where there is already documentation of human disturbances interfering with these activities.”
We’ve learned the hard way that money cannot be the only standard for decision making about the environment. It has led us to the brink of disaster (and as last year’s red tide/blue green algae debacle showed us, over the brink). We can do better. We can decide to protect this oasis of natural habitat on our island. We can decide to be honorable stewards of the land and wildlife that depend on this habitat. A walkway for the convenience of a handful of houses will do irreparable damage to this area that hundreds of birds rely on for resting, feeding and breeding. Please don’t let this happen.
Fort Myers Beach