Neighbor has environmental concerns for tree chopping in Naples community

South Florida Water Management District recently chopped down trees along a residential canal in Collier County claiming they were a safety hazard.

And a homeowner tells us she is not only worried about the view now there is nothing left but stumps.

Susan Swanson is confused by the SFWMD decision to chop down trees near her home in the Bear’s Paw Country Club in Naples, and she is concerned about environmental impacts.

“We woke up to crews across the canals just destroying the natural habitat,” Swanson said.

Swanson said she always used to bring guests out on the deck of her home. With the mini deforestation that happened across the way, she said she won’t anymore.

“What used to be a view I was super excited about coming out here and enjoying not so much anymore,” Swanson said.

Swanson said what was once green and luscious is now brown and dull.

“To me, it looks like the whole land has been ravaged,” Swanson said. “You look at it and think what happened?”

The water management district chopped down several trees along the canal because it said they presented a safety hazard. The district said if trees fall into the water during a major storm and clog up the canal, there could be significant flooding.

Swanson said it impacts wildlife too. But the district said its land manager surveys environmental impacts beforehand.

“It’s just not pretty to look at,” Swanson said. “It’s not pretty to look at anymore.”

The district said this is a year-round project. Crews cover more than 2,000 miles of canals and levies.

The Bear’s Paw community said it will fill in the gaps with shrubbery once the project is over.

“A lot of the people that have invested in homes on the street, it’s for the view,” Swanson said. “It’s for living on the canal and for the view across the way. And even though technically that’s not our property, it impacts our property in a huge way.”

Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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