Wednesday, 13 December 2006 00:00
SloughWritten by Mike Kiniry
A coalition of five conservation groups is claiming victory in its efforts to protect the Cocohatchee Slough in northern Collier County.
Cocohatchee Slough is a natural flow way adjacent to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary – home to the largest endangered wood stork rookery in the United States.
The U-S Army Corps of Engineers issued a permit in February for a 16-hundred home community called The Parklands adjacent to the Cocahatchee. But environmental groups cried foul – suing the Corps, claiming the 650-acre golf course community would destroy more than 200-acres of the slough, devastating the wood stork colony.
Attorney Jan Goldman-Carter represents the coalition. She says rather than go to trial - all parties agreed to start over at the beginning of the permitting process.
“The Corps of Engineers recognized that they had not really conducted the necessary environmental review when they issued the permit back in February. And rather than have a judge tell them that and send them back to fix their permit, they decided they’d do it on their own.”
Goldman-Carter says the settlement contained two stipulations: that all development cease until the review is completed…and that the public be allowed comment during the process.
The Parkland development is one five in the area north of Immokalee Road being challenged by the coalition …which includes the Collier County Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Audubon of Florida, Conservancy of Southwest Florida…and the Florida Wildlife Federation.