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ACOE Denies Beruff Long Bar Mitigation Bank

BRADENTON – On Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied developer Carlos Beruff’s Long Bar Pointe LLLP's application permit for a wetland mitigation bank for his proposed Aqua by the Bay development in southwest Manatee County.

The ACOE previously denied such an application in 2016 and said the developer had failed to address the concerns noted then, instead offering an identical application with only commentary toward the ACOE's previously stated concerns.

Developers use mitigation banks in order to achieve credits for wetlands they will damage or destroy during construction by having other disturbed wetlands restored and enhanced and then purchasing the resulting credits.

The ACOE echoed many of the concerns voiced by opponents of the development, which went before the Manatee County Commission on Thursday (more). They noted that the project could adversely impact the sea grasses in the area, while a proposed lagoon could weaken the wetland shoreline.

The letter also pointed out that proposed mangrove trimming "serves no clear ecological purpose and is contradictory to the goals of a compensatory mitigation bank." Beruff had previously told the Tampa Bay Times that the trimming was "For the obvious reason. The view!" The letter also noted that an oyster reef restoration area permitted to the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program could be impacted.

From the letter:

"In consideration of the information provided above, the Corps has determined that the project, as proposed, does not have the potential to provide sufficient compensatory mitigation to compensate for unavoidable impacts to waters of the United States. In order to fully evaluate a proposed mitigation bank, we must have confidence that a proposed mitigation bank project has the potential to provide an additional environmental benefit over the existing condition. Additionally, we must ensure that a proposed mitigation bank will not cause adverse effects on the environment. We regret that the determination is unfavorable regarding utilization of the property as a mitigation bank."

Click here to read the ACOE letter in its entirety.


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