Protect nature of Brooker preserve
While there are some good ideas to the county's proposed management plan for the Brooker Creek Preserve, I can't support it because the plan contains amendments to the Pinellas County Comprehensive Plan that I believe threaten to compromise the integrity of the preserve.
First, the proposed plan designates nearly a third of the preserve as an area where pumping of groundwater is permitted as long as it facilitates the "provision of high quality potable water" or reduces the "potable water demand."
These two broad criteria can be construed to include many things and certainly would have given the green light to the county's past plan to pump water from the preserve to irrigate a golf course. The potential negative impact to the plants, animals and ecosystems of the preserve is significant.
Another equally disturbing part of the proposed plan allows the use of up to 260 acres in the preserve north of Keystone Road for "water supply infrastructure/structures." This could include projects ranging from water treatment plants to reservoirs.
The plan also specifically states that in 15 years it will be reviewed to "assess the need for any adjustments to the impervious surface ratio or cumulative acreage threshold."
Using the Brooker Creek Preserve for other purposes should only be done as a last resort.
The proposed management plan makes sure that will not be the case, because groundwater pumping and "water supply infrastructure/structures" are specifically permitted.
In any event, I don't think either of these ideas should be made part of any management plan for a nature preserve.
The proposed plan should be evaluated based on what it says and how that could potentially affect the Brooker Creek Preserve. I believe this plan would give permission to use the preserve for nonenvironmental purposes while providing very little of the additional environmental protection that is greatly needed.
In essence, this plan will designate a significant portion of the preserve as "land and resources reserved for other purposes." In my opinion, accepting this plan is accepting the potential spoiling of an established and designated nature preserve. I don't think that is a risk worth taking.
Please contact your county commissioners to encourage them to create a Brooker Creek Preserve management plan that protects it as a nature preserve instead of one that designates it as a "land and resource bank."
Also, please attend the public meeting about the management plan from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. today at the Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center, 3940 Keystone Road, in East Lake.
Mathew Poling, Palm Harbor
Re: Two deputies do double duty, story, June 7
Sheriff's duo deserves praise
Kudos and more to Pinellas County sheriff's Cpl. Jim Cooper and Deputy Richard Trump for their quick and aggressive response in helping prevent the spread of a Dunedin apartment fire in the kitchen of Eric and Carol Puniska.
Their courageous efforts inside the smoke-filled apartment in helping knock down the fire until firefighters arrived prevented what could have been a serious fire involving other apartments, serious injuries or worse.
Thanks, guys, for your dedication to serving and protecting the community!
H. A. Smith, Tarpon Springs
if hurricane hits
On June 5, the Dunedin City Commission proclaimed the month of June as Hurricane Awareness Month. I accepted the proclamation on behalf of Dunedin First Responders and the Dunedin Volunteer Emergency Response Team (DVERT), a member of the national FEMA-sponsored CERT organization.
I was there that night to explain to city leaders that my organization, DVERT, was initiating a nine-week CERT training program to teach volunteers how to properly respond to disasters, how to protect themselves and their families, and how to assist their neighbors in times of disasters.
As the proclamation stated, all citizens are urged to increase their knowledge, awareness and understanding of such disasters as hurricanes.
The trained emergency response volunteers of the city of Dunedin applaud the City Commission for making public its awareness and understanding of efforts taken on behalf of the citizens of Dunedin.
Jim Throne, 2008 DVERT coordinator, Dunedin