Is the environmental spirit dead with current elected officials? Why are they willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future to "beautify" the median running within US1 (costs that they gladly assumed from FDOT), but not protect environmentally sensitive land?
Various plans have been proposed. I proposed working with the Miami-Dade Environmentally Endangered Lands Program (EEL) several times. In fact, I worked to get these 22 acres placed on the "B" List for acquisition, but it requires that Palmetto Bay participate. That would remove any threat of development both on that land or any transferrable rights being applied to adjoining land. This land has been used as a political football for far too long and I am anxious to see a realistic plan to save this precious land.
I rely upon experts. The 22 acres of the Palmetto Bay Village Center should be saved. Please see this guest post from 10/18/2018: What’s so special about a 22 acre forest on Old Cutler Rd?
This forest is very special indeed. It is one of the last remaining remnants of the tropical rockland forest ecosystem that covered Miami-Dade County before we bulldozed 98% of it. Yes there is roughly only 2% left of this forest ecosystem left in all of South Florida. Most of this ecosystem existed almost exclusively in South Miami-Dade. And day by day we lose additional acreage to development and neglect.
Specifically, the 22 acres of the PBVC is a tropical rockland forest composed of rockland hammock and pine rockland. These two forest communities exist on the oolitic limestone ground in a fluid equilibrium with each other as the land can transition back and forth between the two distinct plant communities in a natural and controlled process influenced by fire, hydrology, and by man. The species diversity both plant and animal that this 22 acre forest harbors cannot be measured in dollars. It should not ever be measured in dollars. In fact some years ago, the 22 acres was nominated for inclusion into the County's Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) acquisition program. County biologists assessed the site in response and documented the important habitat values. As a result, the Board of County Commissioners added this site to the list of lands that EEL should purchase for management and protection. The land has remained on the list ever since awaiting funding for purchase.
Here is the complete guest post, originally published on October 18, 2018:
Thursday, October 18, 2018
What’s So Special about a 22 Acre Forest on Old Cutler Road, by Eduardo Varona, Guest Post
In the last four years there has been a serious push to finally give steadfast lasting protections to this forest through a deal between the Village of Palmetto Bay and the private owner, the Palmetto Bay Village Center (PBVC). This agreement would involve a transfer of developmental rights from the 22 acres east to the parcels surrounding the PBVC. And Palmetto Bay would receive the 22 acre forest as the newest passive park in the “Village of Parks”.
So this begs the question, do the 22 acres of forest need protection? Is this privately owned forest currently protected from development now and in the future?