June 12, 2014
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection continues to improve water quality across the state. A unified effort between several state agencies led to the removal of two abandoned structures along Card Sound Road in north Key Largo. Removal of the two structures will help restore natural resources on part of the state’s sovereignty submerged lands and improve water quality in this waterway.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s South District and the Division of State Lands worked with Monroe County, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and other agencies to address the structures, which were constructed on sovereignty submerged lands without authorization or permits.
“Proper authorization for structures on state lands and in Florida waterways is important to ensure the protection and preservation of public lands,” said Kelley Boree, director of DEP’s Division of State Lands. “We appreciate the collaboration from our state and local partners that led to the successful restoration of this area to its natural condition.”
The upland portion of the shoreline in the Card Sound Road area is owned by the Florida Department of Transportation, but managed by Monroe County. The submerged lands are owned by the state and managed by the Division of State Lands as directed by the Board of Trustees, which is comprised of the Governor and Florida Cabinet.
Representatives from all agencies involved worked together to remove the structures, which were determined to be abandoned. FWC assisted the department in targeting the structures for removal. DEP notified the individuals who were using the structures by certified mail, and notices were posted by FWC Law Enforcement in accordance with section 705.103 of the Florida Statutes.
When no one came forward to claim the structures, DEP retained a contractor to remove them in a safe manner. DEP partnered with Monroe County to reduce the cost of waste disposal for the project. Monroe County agreed to waive tipping fees at the transfer station for disposal of the debris and waste materials.
“The collaboration between several state agencies and the county is an example of how governments should work,” said Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi.
This project, which was completed on June 6, highlights the importance of partnerships between state and local agencies.