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Judge Rules To Keep Two-Mile Stretch of Fisheating Creek Open

B A Bowen Photography/Flickr

An administrative law judge ruled a two mile stretch of Fisheating Creek will remain open.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection had planned to fill the creek with 3,300 dump-trucks worth of sand after local landowner the Lykes Brothers claimed a recent restoration project aimed at clearing vegetation from the water was harmful to the environment.

The Lykes Brothers would have supplied the sand free-of-charge, but the DEP would have spent $3 million building roads through the wetlands to reach the creek.

Earthjustice staff attorney Alisa Coe said the judge found the DEP’s decision was not in the public’s interest.

This has to do with the public’s right to use Fisheating Creek in its entirety and whether or not they were going to lose that two miles of that creek forever,” Coe said.

Coe said the Lykes Brothers have a history of trying to block access to parts of the creek that resulted in litigation dating back to the 1990s.

“The state sued to establish that the creek was in fact navigable and belonged to the people,” Coe said.

The judge’s ruling is a recommended order, but Coe said it’s unlikely the DEP will deviate from the judge’s findings. 

Topher is a reporter at WGCU News.