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Press Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 28, 2010
CONTACT: Dee Ann Miller, (850) 245-2112 or (850) 519-2898
   

DEP Agent Makes Arrest for Destruction of Mangroves

~Suspect cut mangrove trees to make access for vessel~

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Division of Law Enforcement recently arrested Gregg Schoener, 50, for the destruction of mangroves. Schoener is charged with Failure to Comply with Environmental Rules, a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine up to $10,000.

“Destroying or harming Florida’s natural resources is a crime and will not be tolerated,” said DEP Division of Law Enforcement Director Henry Barnet. “Enforcing Florida’s environmental laws is an important part of DEP’s mission.”

While on patrol on Card Sound Road in Homestead, a DEP agent observed a vessel tied to the shoreline and stopped to investigate. The agent made contact with Schoener, who admitted to cutting the mangroves to gain access to and around his vessel. An identification check on Schoener revealed a warrant for his arrest for an unrelated charge. Schoener was arrested on May 21, 2010, and booked at the Plantation Key Jail in Monroe County on $5,000 bond.

Environmental crimes are violations of state or federal environmental laws that could impact public health and the environment, such as illegal mangrove trimming. Mangroves are an important part of the of the coastal ecosystem providing food, habitat and breeding grounds for fish, crustaceans and shellfish, nesting and rookeries for coastal birds, filtration for pollutants and trap sediments, as well as storm protection and shoreline stabilization.

DEP’s Division of Law Enforcement is responsible for statewide environmental resource law enforcement, as well as providing law enforcement services to Florida’s state parks and greenways and trails. Division personnel from the three operational bureaus patrol state lands, investigate environmental resource crimes, and respond to natural disasters, civil unrest, hazardous material incidents and oil spills that threaten the environment.

To report an environmental crime, wireless customers can dial #DEP. Callers can also report environmental crimes to the State Warning Point by calling (877) 2-SAVE-FL (1.877.272.8335). General environmental inquiries should be directed to DEP district offices during normal business hours. For more information about DEP’s Division of Law Enforcement, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/law.

Additional information on trimming and altering mangroves may be found in the Department’s Mangrove Trimming Guidelines for Homeowners at www.dep.state.fl.us/water/wetlands/mangroves/index.htm.

Residents are encouraged to contact their local DEP Regulatory District Office for more information on requirements for authorizations or exemptions for mangrove trimming.

mangroves

"Destroying or harming Florida’s natural resources is a crime and will not be tolerated."

Henry Barnet
DEP Division of Law Enforcement Director

–30–

10–093

Last updated: May 28, 2010

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