Following our story last week entitled Has The South End of Fort Myers Beach Become Poison? FWC Conservation Biologist Rebecca Schneider now says those comments were not aimed at residents on the south end of Fort Myers Beach. Here’s the latest…
Back in June Marine Resources Task Force Chairman Steve Johnson read an e-mail from Schneider who said FWC has “experienced a lack of understanding and unreasonable resistance from the community.” The MERTF committee went on to discuss the situation and led people to believe what Schneider was referring to was allegations of bird monitors being yelled at and signs near the roped off nesting areas being pulled out. Johnson went on to say that the “Southern end of the Island is starting to poison itself against everything conservation oriented and I think that’s a big problem.” He followed it up with, “I don’t know if there’s a way we can help this poison from spreading on the South End of the Island.”
We reached out to FWC several times for clarification on Schneider’s comments before our story ran last week and were ignored.
Following our story, Carlos Pointe Beach Club Board of Directors President Bob Galvanoni wrote to Schneider voicing his disappointment with her comments. “WOW! I thought we had a solid working relationship. It seems I was mistaken. The Carlos Pointe board has repeatedly worked with FWC each year for over 15 years to enable bird nesting and endangered population growth. Our good faith efforts have been damaged by this “poison” movement.”
Schneider did respond to Galvanoni and appears to be backtracking from her original accusations about south end residents. She does not mention or clarify her original “unreasonable resistance” accusations. Here’s her e-mail back to Galvanoni which she copied to other condo Presidents:
I understand your disappointment and apologize that this has created concerns. My correspondence with the Town’s Marine Resources Task Force was not in relation to your properties nor those surrounding the historical shorebird breeding area; it was in the context of partnering with the Task Force to build cooperative relationships at a community level.
The FWC’s Southwest regional team has been working diligently to educate other beachfront residents as birds are breeding in different areas this season, and we have faced challenges; we’re seeking engagement from the Task Force to support effective communications for the entire community.
Our goal has always been to communicate positively with you and other property owners in Fort Myers Beach. We recognize and value the strength of the partnership we have on the South end of the island and are committed to maintaining that. I welcome and encourage you to contact me by email or phone if you have questions.
We reached out to FWC again this week to get clarification on Schneider’s “unreasonable resistance” comment because if there is a bird monitor volunteer being harassed, or if signs are being pulled out in the shorebird nesting area, those people should be identified and called out for doing so. FWC has never responded to any of our requests for specifics which will only make people wonder if the claims are true at all.
Watch Kim’s July 9th tour of the shorebird nesting area on the south end of Fort Myers Beach HERE which already has over 12,000 views.
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