For New Owners
Among the reasons you bought in this natural island paradise are the beauty of the natural vegetation and the wonderful wildlife that shares its habitat with us all. With just a little thought and care, a great deal of that vegetation and habitat can be saved, protected, relocated if necessary, to everybody’s advantage.
WELCOME TO THE ISLAND! Before you Build...
Transplanting is a great idea! Precious native vegetation, like Sabal palms, can be moved on your own lot to a “buffer zone.” And if your lot can’t accommodate the move, or if you choose not to, WHPP can find “adoptive homesites” eager and willing to. Truth be known, moving a tree a few feet or to another lot actually costs less than tearing it down and getting rid of it. And replacing one tree can cost a thousand dollars.
So, before you level the land and tear down the trees, tell your contractor you want to protect and save vegetation and habitat. Please take a few simple, environmentally responsible steps:
Inventory Find out what’s on your lot ... what should and could be preserved …what has to be removed. WHPP can help.
Set Buffer Zones Set aside as much perimeter green space area as you can. It conserves water and energy, creates corridors for wildlife, filters nutrients from runoff, and provides privacy for you. Leave natural vegetation along the shoreline alone. This stabilizes our island shores and helps keep the water clean and vital. WHPP can help.
Clear Responsibly There are clearer/landscapers who know how. Native trees can be removed in minutes, but require a lifetime to replace. When possible, wait. Remove invasive and noxious species, like Brazilian Peppers and Australian Pines, first. WHPP can help.
REMEMBER WHPP WILL HELP! We’ll help with lot preparation guidelines (like teaching you and your contractors about how to gauge and mark tree sites for preservation). Also, inventorying, relocation of trees and habitat awareness. All free of charge!
For building ideas, see FloridaGreenBuilding.org.
For native plants and nurseries, see PlantRealFlorida.org.
Also, check out BackTenFeet.com, where people concerned about clean air, water and wildlife habitat can learn how to help in their own back yards.
How about building an environmentally friendly boat dock? Did you know you could? And it may enhance your property values … be longer lasting … and best of all, help you protect the waters your family enjoys!
The most common dock pilings are constructed of marine treated lumber (pressure treated wood). This wood is impregnated with a mixture of copper, chromium and arsenic (CCA)—heavy metals toxic to many forms of marine life, and contaminating to the aquatic food web.
To decrease pollution sources, consider using alternative materials, such as concrete, plastic and recycled plastic. Compared to marine treated lumber, these materials have relatively low toxicity and last longer. And plastic has the added advantages of encouraging the use of recycled material and reducing the waste stream.
Another method is to use an impermeable, flexible PVC sleeve around existing pilings. These should extend from 6” below the “mud line” to several inches above the seasonal high water line.
Choosing a Deck
Decks can be constructed of plastic, fiberglass grid or mesh, and even concrete. All have their advantages. Plastic decking needs no maintenance and lasts much longer than wood. It does need appropriate treads to avoid a slip or fall. Fiberglass grid or mesh material allows light penetration through the deck, thereby encouraging growth of seagrasses. Concrete floating docks are long lasting, virtually maintenance free, and encourage growth of important marine organisms. Another enhancement is to elevate the access piers five feet above the mean high water line—to allow more light to the habitats below.
For more information, call The Florida Department of Environmental Protection / Environmental Resource Permitting Section in Punta Gorda at 941.743.1201
There are a number of builders, developers, Realtors, landscapers and designers that work on our islands who share our goals and commitments. Call for an up-to-date listing of these Partners.
And, keep in mind … we have over 30 homeowner adoptive sites that have been recipients of over 200 native trees and numerous other native plants from various construction sites.
Some Additional Thoughts and Reminders
Before you mess with the mangroves...
Black, red and white mangroves are part of the foundation of our islands.
They prevent shoreline erosion. They provide food and habitat for the marine food chain, including our feathered friends and the fish you catch. They filter runoff from our lots … improve quality of the waters … and help protect our homes from severe wind damage.
Red Mangrove Roots
Before you cut or trim mangroves, note that there are State and County restrictions, and in some cases, permits will be required.