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Judge Rules Against Filling Florida’s Fisheating Creek

(Tallahassee – NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA) – An administrative law judge this week rejected a proposal to fill part of a creek that drains into Lake Okeechobee, saying the project would prevent navigability and affect fish and wildlife. Judge Bram D.E. Canter recommended that the state Department of Environmental Protection deny permit changes sought by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to put 27,000 cubic yards of sand into Fisheating Creek in Glades County. “Adequate measures are not included in the permits to ensure that after backfilling and planting, the creek would have the ordinary attributes of a creek,” said Canter’s 28-page recommendation, issued Wednesday. Fisheating Creek, which flows from DeSoto and Highlands counties through Glades County before draining into Lake Okeechobee, has been the subject of legal battles in the past. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission last year sought permit changes to allow the fill project after an attempt to remove vegetation created a channel that affected the hydrology of an area known as Cowbone Marsh. But Save Our Creeks, Inc., and the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, Inc., filed the challenge in the state Division of Administrative Hearings.
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