Published: Mar 13, 2012 2:13 AM EDT
Updated: Mar 13, 2012 2:14 AM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla - Cape Coral city council leaders are working to protect an endangered fish and the construction industry at the same time.

The mayor is asking city council to approve a checklist to make sure the construction of seawalls - doesn't interfere with the fish's habitat. The mayor's proposed resolution creates whats called an Effect Determination Key, so local agencies can come together to make sure they aren't harming the fish - but can continue to build seawalls.

"What we're doing is heading off a problem before the problem happens, so we're tying to get in front of it, so people don't have to go through, like I said, jumping over hurdles and jumping through hoops," said Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan. He wants to protect the the unique endangered smalltooth sawfish and the construction of seawalls by making sure they can co-exist in harmony.

Staff will ask city council to work out a plan with federal authorities to preserve the city's seawall permit authority, allowing residents to continue to get their permits in a few days.

The mayor tells WINK he even wants to use the seawalls to benefit the endangered fish by building ecosystems around them.

"If they want to participate and help build these little ecosystems then they're welcome to do it, which it would be kind of nice for someone who lives along a seawall to see these animals out there,' he said.