MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY

Published: Oct 10, 2013 8:02 AM EDT

MELBOURNE BEACH, Fla. (AP) - The person who cut down 106 sea grape trees, limbs and stumps at a national wildlife refuge near Melbourne Beach faces $17,000 in fines and restoration costs
    
Jane Whaley of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the beach-side trees were cut down Aug. 2. While they're not disclosing the name of the person suspected of cutting the trees, the case is heading to federal court in Orlando. A hearing is scheduled for November.
    
Whaley says some of the trees that were cut were 30 to 40 feet tall and were at least 50 years old.
    
Florida Today (http://on.flatoday.com/16SZtqk ) reports the trees are federally protected because they block beach lights that disturb nesting sea turtles. They also provide habitat for birds and other wildlife.
    
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Information from: Florida Today (Melbourne, Fla.), http://www.floridatoday.com

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