Citizens win in legal ruling over public access to Fisheating Creek
TALLAHASSEE – An administrative judge today ruled in favor of citizens groups—and against the Florida Department of Environmental Protection—in a landmark case to preserve the public’s boating access to one of South Florida’s wildest waterways, Fisheating Creek in Glades County.
A Division of Administrative Hearings Judge in Tallahassee ruled that the Florida DEP cannot block off the creek’s navigation channel. Earthjustice represents Save Our Creeks and the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, which on Oct. 2 challenged the DEP’s environmental permit.
The DEP planned to use $3 million in taxpayer money to build roads through wetlands so that 3,300 dump-truck loads of sand provided by agribusiness giant Lykes Bros. Inc. could be dumped into a two-mile-stretch of Fisheating Creek, permanently blocking the public’s navigation channel. Lykes Brothers owns most of the land on both sides of the creek.