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.” A 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.
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.
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.
For building ideas, see FloridaGreenBuilding.org.
For native plants and nurseries, see PlantRealFlorida.org.
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.
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.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection