Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Demens Landing residents angered by mangrove's severe cutting

ST. PETERSBURG — An investigation is under way to determine who improperly trimmed a large mangrove tree down to its roots last week at Demens Landing.

The problem isn't so much that someone tried to trim the mangrove as much as the way they trimmed it.

"That wasn't really trimming, what they did, it was an alteration," said Conor Petren, an environmental specialist for Pinellas County. "Which means, you change the basic nature of the tree by cutting it down to a stub, pretty much."

The responsible party will be fined between $100 and $10,000 and will need to propose a method of "mitigation" for the damage, he said.

Petren examined the tree on Monday after receiving complaints from residents at the downtown St. Petersburg marina. The tree, which is actually a collection of several trunks, was cut to below 6 feet tall and a large portion of its leaves were removed, against code.

The county has strict rules that govern how and when a mangrove can be trimmed or removed.

At least half the tree will likely die because of the improper trim, he said.

While it's unclear who cut the tree, one resident reported seeing a city of St. Petersburg truck at the site.

Several people at the city said they didn't know if the city was responsible.

On Monday afternoon, Mike Jefferies, St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation supervisor, said the city is still investigating and has not determined who cut down the tree.

Marina residents are still incensed.

"It doesn't make any sense," said Richard O'Connor, who lives on a houseboat there. The tree didn't seem to be blocking anything but a series of cameras mounted on a light pole nearby, he said.

He wrote a letter to Mayor Rick Kriseman and the marina's management in an effort to determine who ordered the trimming.

Demens Landing manager Joan McGowan said the incident was under investigation but would not provide details.

The city's arborist, Mike Vineyard, said he wasn't made aware of any plans to trim the tree.

If allowed to mature, mangroves can grow up to 25 feet. Their branches provide a habitat for birds, and their roots give shelter to creatures like fish at the beginning of their life cycles, Petren said. Their leaves provide food for sea life.

A mangrove across the ramp from the now-stunted tree provides the same habitat.

"This is home, this is their home," said Kevin Shuppert, gesturing to a night crane on a branch near his house boat on Monday. "That bird spends its night up in the high branch every night."

O'Connor said he hopes someone is held responsible.

"If they aren't, it really defeats the purpose of passing regulations to help the environment," O'Connor said.

Demens Landing residents angered by mangrove's severe cutting 08/18/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 8:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Get under the covers with Tom Perrotta's 'Mrs. Fletcher'

    Books

    If Tom Perrotta's new novel, Mrs. Fletcher, had a moral, it might be this: Thinking you can learn how to have a great sex life by watching porn is like thinking you can learn to be a great driver by playing Grand Theft Auto.

  2. Hillsborough approves miniscule cut to property tax rate, give $2 million to bus system

    Local

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County Commissioners on Thursday approved a decrease in the property tax rate for next year that will save most homeowners a little pocket change.

    Passengers are seen near a bus at Westfield-Brandon Transit Center Thursday, July 13 in Brandon. On Thursday, commissioners approved a $2 million one-time payment for the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
  3. 5 things to know before Tampa Bay Comic Con this weekend

    Events

    Tampa Bay Comic Con returns to the Tampa Convention Center this weekend, expected to attract more than 55,000 like-minded nerds mingling with cosplayers, celebrities, artists and sellers of comic books and collectibles.

    Surrounded by the bridesmaids dressed as Disney princesses and groomsmen dressed as Marvel superheroes, Gwen Walter of Venice, Fla., kisses her husband, Shawn Walter, also of Venice, after their wedding ceremony on day two of the 2016 Tampa Bay Comic Con in the Tampa Convention Center on August 6, 2016. The pair got engaged at Megacon 2015 and were married wearing "Nightmare Before Christmas"-themed costumes. Two different couples were married in Room 24 on the second day of the Tampa Bay Comic Con 2016. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times
  4. Baker releases endorsement of 40 Midtown pastors

    Blogs

    Rick Baker announced Thursday that he has the support of 40 Midtown pastors and religious leaders, evidence he says of his "overwhelming support" in a crucial part of the city.

  5. A Taste of Tampa Bay: Noble Crust in St. Petersburg

    Food & Dining

    Noble Crust opened on north 4th Street in St. Petersburg, an area light on ambitious restaurants, in 2015. Chef Rob Reinsmith and his team are serving up a blend of southern cuisine and Italian-style cooking, including the restaurant's signature fried chicken. The Noble Crust brand recently expanded beyond its St. …

    Pizza at Noble Crust. [Photo by MONICA HERNDON | TIMES]