GOLDEN GATE, Fla - It's your money and The Big Cypress Basin is spending it on a maintenance project. Crews are removing thousands of trees along the Green Canal in Golden Gate and one homeowner is outraged.
James "J.B." Holmes says the project is not only destroying the native habitat, but it's unnecessary.
Holmes has lived in his Golden Gate home along the Green Canal for 13 years. During that time he created a nesting area for ducks, otters and other birds, but he knows that will be wiped out very soon.
"Everything you see here will be cut off," says Holmes, pointing to the trees along the bank.
Phil Flood, administrator of Big Cypress Basin says they're doing routine maintenance. "Trees have grown up along the banks and so what we're looking at doing is removing the trees from the top of the bank, to the water," says Flood.
Flood says their concern is that trees could fall into the canal during a storm, block water from flowing and cause flooding.
"It can also flow downstream and hit a bridge, back that up and impact some of our other water control structures and exacerbate flooding in the area here," says Flood.
"What you're doing is cutting down thousands of trees, literally thousands for the hypothetical event of one tree falling," says Holmes. "I've lived in Florida for 30 years. I have never ever seen a tree go down in a canal."
Holmes says rather than prevent flooding, the project could actually do the opposite and while he may have lost this battle, he's not giving up on the fight.
"Their arguments are illogical and irrational. These banks will just erode further into the canal," says Holmes. "All my little nesting friends will not be here."
The Big Cypress Basin maintains 162 miles of canals in Collier County. This maintenance project started two years ago near I 75 and has just now made its way east to Golden Gate. Work is expected to wrap up by the end of the month.