This may be a major step toward the last best hope for preserving a lifeboat habitat for dozens of endangered plants and animals now living in the last major tract of pine rockland habitat outside of Everglades National Park.
Add in global warming and sea-level rise, and the slightly higher Richmond pine rocklands may literally be a lifeboat for Everglades residents facing possible rising waters.
I call on the University of Miami not to sell any more land to developers and to open up its South Campus to independent biologists to truly know what’s living there now without being handcuffed by confidentiality clauses like UM and developers imposed earlier at the site.
What else does UM have to hide there now that we know it paid $400,000 in 2006 to settle a federal investigation into illegal radioactive waste dumping in an endangered forest?
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Why haven’t developers opened it up to independent wildlife experts to do a real endangered-species study there?
Their original one found basically no endangered animals at all.
It’s almost as if they’ve got something to hide.
Is it because it’s an endangered pine rocklands full of rare plants and animals, and both UM and the developers are trying to keep that out of public view?
And what, if any, prior business relationship existed between the buyers and UM officials, who sold the land it got for free from the federal government?
There are still too many unanswered questions to allow this land to be bulldozed and the rare plants and animals sentenced to possible extinction — save it, don’t pave it.
Al Sunshine, president,
Rocklands Coalition, Miami