Words from Friends
scroll below to read Letters of Support
We wanted to take a moment to say thank you for hosting the Summer Haven River Workshop Tuesday evening.
My husband is a Conch and I am a Minorcan. We are understandably passionate about preserving old Florida. We chose to live in Summer Haven for just that reason. We have always felt that when the ICWW was cut in this area it caused the water and sands to shift creating an unnatural flow. The assurances Mr. Mellon described in the letter illustrated the fact that the county and state have mismanaged the Mellon family's gift.
What we would like from the government is removal of the sand that has come in from the time when the breach was open. This sand should be placed back on the beach where it came from and be used to shore up the beach front and help protect A1A. This would restore the flow of saltwater in the area, help protect the beachfront for visitors and help to secure the Emergency Evacuation Route.
Mr. Shirley said there was no cost to leaving the area the way it is. I was shocked to hear him say this. The cost to the wildlife and visitors in this area is painfully high and obvious. An example of this cost is the impact the sand has had on our canal. The canal we live on was originally a saltwater fish hatchery. It was sold and houses were built along the canal many years ago. Every year until now we have seen young sea turtles and manatee feeding in the canal. Along with porpoise with babies learning to corner fish and hunt. The canal was a safe place for young turtles and baby porpoise to grow and a warm spot for the manatee. It had become a natural nursery for the wildlife in the area. Now none of those creatures come in the canal because of the sand.
The impact of the flow of fresh saltwater to Princess Place from the Summer Haven River may also have a significant impact on an extremely important ecological area.
I felt our group did a very good job of illustrating the value in moving the sand. It would restore the beach, restore the salinity levels for the clams and oysters, and once again provide a wonderful area for boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and exploring with children. Preserving old Florida is a tradition handed down to us by our parents and grandparents we work to preserve Florida for our children and grandchildren.
Thank you very much for your time and guidance concerning this issue.
William and Kathy McKenna
To whom it may concern:
From the moment my husband and I bought our house in Summer Haven, it has represented for us a refuge from our demanding careers. We actually had our wedding in our backyard. We exchanged vows overlooking the beautiful river while a family of dolphins paid us an impromptu visit. Our guests were enchanted by this beautiful scene. No amount of money could have produced what nature blessed us with. At sunset we would sit on the dock silently watching the sun go down when all of a sudden a shy turtle would poke its head above the water only to duck immediately under once it realized it was being watched.
Looking at pictures now, we realize how much this beautiful area and especially the river have changed in a short year and a half. It seems that ospreys and bald eagles abandoned us too once the river bed dried up and the fish were gone These are a few things taken not only from us but from birds, dolphins and all sorts of wild life as sand fills up the river ever so slightly daily to the point that at low tide there is nothing but gray sand and mud. It is such a dismal fate for those creatures that depended on the river for their livelihood.
I can go on and on about how much damage this has caused to the nature in the area but it will not convey the urgency that we as residents feel to restore the river to its natural order. We feel that unless action is taken immediately, soon the sand will move into the intracostal waterway (and under the bridge connection the ocean to the river) as evidenced by the weakening of the current at high tide pushing though into the river. By the same token, as the tide lowers, lack of momentum from the river keeps the sand stagnant in the intracostal waters and the Matanzas Inlet. The cost to restore that damage at that stage would certainly be astronomical. This area is extensively used by residents from Flagler, St. Johns County and has international appeal for visitors with the National monument there.
We cannot allow this senseless pillage by sand to continue. Please restore the Summer Haven River. Please allow for wildlife to return to our beautiful haven by keeping the ocean communicating with the river.
Please print and sign a copy of the petition and mail it to: Friends of the Summer Haven River 9051 Gene Johnson Road St. Augustine, FL 32084