Comment on DEP & Cape Coral's conduct in the Ceitus Boat Lift replacement structure:

DEP is actually saying that they will deny a permit to reconstruct the Ceitus Barrier unless we literally find a way to hold back the tide.

Attached is a copy of the DEP request for additional information regarding the application for a permit to reconstruct the Ceitus Barrier. Note that paragraph three of the request sets a condition for the permit that is not possible to achieve. Paragraph three requires a plan that would prevent "exchange" of water between the spreader and Matlacha Pass. At peak tide levels, tidal flows go back and forth through the wetlands on the west side of the seven mile long main spreader canal. That's good--the very purpose of the spreader to to facilitate flow through the wetlands. Paragraph three also appears to require plugging of what they (DEP and Cape Coral) call "breaches" (flowways) through the wetlands--the flowways are actually mother nature trying to restore the historic east-west tidal creeks that served Matlacha Pass before the dredge and fill that illegally created Northwest Cape Coral. There is nothing wrong with those flowways--we need more of them--that's what distributes the fresh water throughout the estuary.

A DEP requirement that the entire seven mile west wall somehow be blocked to water flows makes no sense whatsoever and is impossible to do. That would require a seven mile long dam costing hundreds of millions of dollars. FEP of course knows all that--they also know that neither the Consent Order or any law or regulation requires any such action, and they know that action is not environmentally desirable. The only purpose of posing such a nonsensical requirement would be to make it impossible to grant the permit.

At medium to low tide, all flow to and from the spreader system is through the huge (200 by 5 foot) opening created by removal of the Ceitus Barrier. That means that most of the excess fresh water and pollution and siltation from North Cape Coral is dumped in the small canal north of Pine Island Road in Matlacha--that's the root cause of the environmental damage we are experiencing, and nothing short of reconstruction of an improved Ceitus Barrier will alleviate that problem.

The Ceitus permit application process has been reduced to a joke. Cape Coral, although required by the EMA process to submit the permit application, did not do so in good faith. They intentionally left out information essential to an environmental resource permit and intentionally included nonessential features designed to make the application very difficult to approve. The DEP, by setting permit conditions not possible to meet, is also not proceeding in good faith.

Neither Cape Coral nor the DEP are implementing the EMA agreement signed by 14 of the 18 EMA stakeholders and requiring reconstruction of the Ceitus Barrier.

Phil Buchanan