It all began on a warm spring day in north eastern Florida. Friday April 24, 2009 to be exact. The Florida Division of Forestry (DOF) was starting construction of a fire line around the portion of our neighbor's property adjacent to our property. To make a long story short, the fire line was being constructed in wetlands, through a creek. The "protected" property is bordered on the East by acres of cleared land, on the South by a sixty-foot cleared easement with a road on it, on the North by largely cleared property, and on the West by my property (which is to say, my yard). We wondered why a fire line was needed here, why it would be built in wetlands, what damage might be done to the creek, and had other concerns as well. However, since it was the DOF doing the work, we assumed they were experts at it, knew what they were doing and how to do it, and would treat the area with the care and respect it deserves.
There are really several families, all related to each other that collectively own the properties to be firelined. We had spoken to one of them who was acting and speaking for the group.We asked to have the DOF come speak to us before beginning work to ensure that the property line was respected. We asked to have the fire line constructed away from the property line so as to preserve the roots of our trees. He said he would talk to them about it. We also reminded him that there is a creek back in those woods.
No one ever came to speak to us. The creek has been badly torn up - they got their very big bulldozers stuck in it so deep that mud was well over the dozer's treads. And the line was placed as close as possible to the property line. At one point, we saw that the dozer was on our property. I walked into the woods and personally talked to the operator telling him to stay off our property with his bulldozers. After that, they actually BULLDOZED OVER 200FEET OF FIRE LINE ON OUR PROPERTY AFTER BEING TOLD TO STAY OFF!!
The DOF as well as several other government agencies had previously determined that this area is wetlands. According to their own Best Management Practices (BMPs), the DOF should never have performed the work here in the manner they did; and they most certainly should have never BULLDOZED THE CREEK! Not to mention that they bulldozed over 200 feet of our property while miraculously leaving each and every property line marker standing untouched.
So far every organization, agency, and government office that is charged with the duty to oversee this type of situation, protect our vanishing wetlands, or uphold and enforce laws, ordinances, procedures, or anything else have been absolutely useless!
We hope that by posting this, we may bring to light the indifference, the disregard for the average, normal, working person and their property shown by the very government agencies who are supposed to protect us, our property, and protected/endangered environments.
In the near future, we will be posting video, public records documents, photos, and everything else we can that relates to this travesty. We will tell the entire story, with names, dates, places - all of it. And substantiate every word with proof.
Here are a few photos until we can get back with more.