In the Jan. 26 letter Protect endangered pinelands, the writer says that our lead biologist, in a video posted online Jan. 17, asserted that “the only way to protect endangered pinelands is for the developer to manage them.” This is not what we are asserting. Rather, until someone with a vested interest, motivation and resources makes restoration possible, the affected area will continue to decline.
In the case of Coral Reef Commons, Ram is the one with the motivation and resources to restore the degraded area and protect endangered species.
Responsible developers today understand the realities of conservation, environmental protection and remediation.
The Richmond Pine Rockland comprises more than 2,600 acres. Of that total, 74 percent is owned by Miami-Dade County and various branches of the federal government. Coral Reef Commons makes up only 3 percent. Governments may have the intention and the motivation to manage preserves under their ownership, but often lack the resources.
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A motivated and qualified private interest often can get the job done, and done faster. Ram Realty has significant experience developing environmentally responsible and sustainable projects, including the successful long-term management of preserves in Martin County.
The writer goes on to say that, “A comprehensive conservation plan needs to be developed.” This is precisely what we are doing in filing a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to avoid and minimize the impact on certain endangered species that were listed subsequent to the issuing of our permits by Miami-Dade.
We expect to file this application in March.
The plan will identify the responsible party for managing the preserves, provide the Fish & Wildlife Service enforcement rights, ensure there is adequate funding for the management of the preserves, require the eradication of invasive species and provide for the preservation of pine rockland habitat for generations to come. Our approach and plan are both real and achievable.
We invite the writer to contact us to learn more about our project and discuss the concerns in his letter.
He will find that we are working to the same ends in environmental protection.
Working cooperatively with local and federal government agencies, as well as with interested neighborhood and environmental groups, we are finding a way forward that will enhance both the environment and the local economy at the same time.
Peter D. Cummings, chairman, Ram Realty Services, Palm Beach Gardens