Audubon Dune Walkover Settled

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And it ended in a dud after years of battling between Estero Boulevard homeowners Eddie Rood and Kurt Kroemer and a small group of people on Fort Myers Beach that tried to deny the two residents a walkover to the beach from their homes.

Back in April of 2023, The Florida Audubon Society filed a lawsuit against the Town of Fort Myers Beach and Fort Myers Beach homeowners Eddie Rood and Kurt Kroemer, in an attempt to stop the construction of the dune walkover behind their homes. The Audubon alleged that the Town Council ignored its own staff and did not follow the rules of its own charter by approving the walkover.

The Fort Myers Beach Town Council accepted the settlement agreement Monday.

In the lawsuit the Florida Audubon alleged “the proposed bridge/dune walkover will significantly harm imperiled listed species of migratory and nesting shore and seabirds, and their habitats, which are adjacent and near to this proposed structure.”

At every stop along the way, the Florida Audubon lost on this issue. Every single step.

When the current Town Council came into office, Rood and Kroemer were granted a special exception to build the walkover after claiming they lost access to the beach as the Critical Wildlife Area continued to shift and move, eventually blocking their access.

The walkover has been up for two months and appears to fit right in with the surrounding critical wildlife area.

Here are the most important details from the settlement

Rood & Kroemer agree that the walkover will be closed to pedestrian traffic if the homeowners receive notice from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission during bird nesting season that a nest of an imperiled bird species including birds
listed as threatened or endangered by state or federal wildlife agencies, has been
identified within a 150-foot radius. Rood and Kroemer The walkover will remain closed until Rood and Kroemer are notified that chicks in the nest have hatched and fledged, or the nest has been destroyed or abandoned. Bird nesting season is February 15 to September 1st.

The bottom line is FWC will monitor the area during bird nesting season, something Rood and Kroemer were always will to commit to.

 

15 COMMENTS

  1. In the end, everyone won, Kurt and I, our neighborhood, the Town Of Fort Myers Beach, and the Audobon. And this could’ve happened five years ago had not been for a small group of narrow minded people promoting their own agenda that would not accept the reality and the facts that surrounded this issue and continued to reject those facts. The money that has been spent on legal fees on all three sides of this battle could have been used to do so much good on our island and that’s what really lost. It was our island that ultimately paid the price of this ordeal.

  2. When did environmentalists get classified as radicals or crazies? The Critical Wildlife Area, Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve, Bowditch Point Park, Lovers Key State Park and countless other initiatives to protect our environment came about thanks to hard work by environmentalists like my father and his cohort many decades ago. The price of FMB’s prosperity and beauty is constant environmental protection and vigilance.

    • Seriously, “radicals and crazies”, saw no mention of this label till you introduced it. Commend (appreciative) and indebted to your father and other environmentalist who have resurrected many of our endangered species. Although, can’t imagine that the Audubon folks would have let this drop had there been objective evidence that the boardwalk was detrimental to protected wildlife, at least let’s hope not as the organization is well funded and has overcome many critical issues. And yes, FMB’s “prosperity and beauty” and continued “protection and vigilance” is built into the settlement as FWC will continue to monitor the impact on wildlife with a caveat to close the boardwalk during nesting season should the habitat be disrupted, a win-win. Perhaps, I missed the point of the post or maybe a dog whistle to our cadre of FMB residents placing “squashed” turtles into baggies and not reporting the deadly assault of turtles on Estero Blvd to FWC so that appropriate conservation measures can be taken? (re: squashed turtles noted below). If your are witnessing the motor vehicle homicide of baby turtles is there no duty to report to FWC?

    • You may be a little dramatic but “environmentalists” and specifically the Audubon Society and MERTF committee lost some credibility when:
      They lost perspective of their purpose and shifted into an activist role.
      Placed more importance on the protection and safety of wildlife instead of human beings.
      Lost sight of reason and common sense in their dealings.
      Lost respect of the financial burdens their agenda places on taxpayers and the community in general.
      They began believing they are wiser, more profound and smarter than anyone else.

      There are many, many people on this Island that have great respect and a deep love of wildlife and the environment, not just the Audubon Society and MERFT committee members. Perhaps it’s time they understood that and worked constructively with the community instead of as activists and adversaries.

  3. Let’s hope she was going to do something respectful to them instead of letting them get hit by every car passing. I may have picked it up also.

  4. Let’s hope she was going to do something respectful to them instead of letting them get hit by every car passing. I may have picked it up also.

  5. I am disappointed in Beach Talk Radio’s lack of bias in this report.
    Report the facts and leave out your inflammatory adjectives.
    Small group of people? The Audubon lost on every single step?
    I don’t remember a general vote to find out how many folks opposed this? There wasn’t one, so how do you know a “small number” opposed it? Please report the facts and leave out your bias.

    • The Audubon Society DID lose every single lawsuit and court battle along the way. All of the facts are a matter of court record. As for there being only a small group of people that opposed the walkover and supported Audubon’s opposition, the last election essentially demonstrated that point.

      • Dana G.
        “Homocide of a baby turtle”??
        Homicide is the killing of a human (created in the image of God). Not the killing of an animal (created by God). Use a dictionary. Get educated.

  6. These claims of doing ‘significant harm’ to birds (or turtles or blue darters) are NEVER quantified or proven. Somebody, show me documented evidence any baby turtles that have died crossing Estero Blvd. These birds will adjust to the walkover being there. There’s plenty of places for them to nest.

    • Greg, you can choose to believe this or not. I have seen a flattened baby turtle on Estero. You don’t know “ pissed” until you witness the woman who picked it up and placed it in a ziplock with two others. Maybe undocumented to you but I witnessed it.

      • U will be really pissed when u witness a person being picked up and put into a body bag from being hit by a car because of the dim lights to protect the turtles.

        • Please answer me this. Which is likely the cause… a car jumping the curb, intentionally hitting someone or a person stepping out onto the street without looking or most likely inebriated to the point their judgement and sight is impaired?

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