Park, Bark and Fly fined $200,000 for wetland destruction

parkbarkfly2 In: Park, Bark and Fly fined $200,000 for wetland destruction | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Investigator photos of wetlands destruction. (Orange County)
Illegal wetland destruction by one of John Miklos’ former customers is in the news.  We have enough wetland destruction done legally with permitting and we don’t need more.  St Johns River Water Management Board Chair Miklos’ company Bio Tech Consulting does a business acquiring water permits which are dispersed by the water board he chairs.  Chairman Miklos did not participate in the water district’s vote to impose the penalty on his former customer.
miklos1
John Miklos

Miklos’ association with a company which obtains water permits from the board he chairs is seen by many as a conflict of interest, and has led to ethics charges for Miklos and much bad publicity for the St Johns River Water Management District.  Likewise, the district has been under fire from the public for allowing further  water withdrawal permits for a private cattle ranch, which environmentalists say cause further degradation of Silver Springs and the Silver River.

Much controversy was generated when district scientists first recommended denial of the permits, stating that the withdrawals would harm the river, and then suddenly reversed course, declaring they had found a better water model that predicted no harm to the springs and river.
This incident, along with alleged cherry-picking of data and intellectual dishonesty of the Southwest Florida Water Management District when establishing MFLs for the Rainbow River and Kings Bay,  has contributed to a loss of credibility for these districts in the eyes of the public.
Read the orginal article here in the Orlando Sentinel.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-


Park, Bark and Fly fined $200,000 for wetland destruction

Park, Bark and Fly was fined $200,000 Tuesday for illegal wetlands destruction last year, an amount that matches a previous penalty for the parking provider near Orlando International Airport.

The St. Johns River Water Management District board agreed to the penalty without discussion, capping an investigation opened earlier this year when the state agency learned that Park, Bark and Fly had secretly been bulldozing wetlands on its property since last May.

That unauthorized construction occurred as the district was deliberating the prior $200,000 fine, stemming from illegal wetlands destruction in 2005.

The pair of $200,000 fines are enmeshed in overlapping recent and historic activities, each with several specific violations cited by the water district.

“There were also violations of the previous settlement agreement, and the previous violations, and violations of several permit conditions,” said district lawyer Erin Preston, summarizing for the agency’s board a complex enforcement action.

With Tuesday’s action, the private company appears to be the most penalized violator ever by the water-management district.

Park, Bark and Fly’s longtime environmental expert for wetland regulations had been Bio-Tech Consulting of Orlando, whose president is John Miklos. He is also the governor-appointed chairman of the water district.

Staff at the district confirmed last month that Bio-Tech no longer represents Park, Bark and Fly for matters involving the agency.

Miklos abstained Tuesday from voting on the $200,000 penalty. He and Park, Bark and Fly representatives have declined several requests for comment.

Orange County’s Environmental Protection Division is still investigating the illegal bulldozing of nearly 6 acres of wetlands just west of State Road 436.

Preston said construction remains halted and the site is being watched by district staff.

Park, Bark and Fly must began monthly payments in May of $16,666 toward the second fine of $200,000.

The water district’s action with the parking business includes a daily penalty of $100 per day for each of a variety of technical violations, with that civil punishment now at more than $15,000.

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5 Comments

  1. How can an obvious conflict of interest like this be allowed to continue to fester? This is way beyond the public’s center of focus, but I can’t imagine who wouldn’t be incensed if they were aware of this. It is indeed criminal.

  2. Another reason Scott does not need to be in any floriduh politics. I do NOT trust him to NOT keep the good ole boy syndrome going. Too many intentional mistakes made by him concerning our environment and water and money.
    Seriously we need some Honest, NON politicians,with Common sense with knowledge of the harm industry is doing. And who can not be bought.

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