Florida Keys News
Monday, August 4, 2014
Holes in fences help Key deer, turtles

The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority learned last week that good fences don't always make good neighbors, especially if your neighbor is a Key deer or a turtle.

An Aqueduct Authority contractor recently installed several hundred feet of black silt fencing along Long Beach Road on Big Pine Key to help contain the silt while workers are installing sewer lines for the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater Treatment System.

However, federal Refuges Manager Nancy Finley and Key Deer Run Bed and Breakfast owner Harry Appel cut dozens of holes in the fences last week so that Key deer, diamondback turtles and snakes could pass through the area and not be trapped.

The turtles are nesting so the lack of mobility could have been a serious issue, Finely said.

The two asked the permission of the Aqueduct Authority before making the cuts, and the agency agreed to allow it, Finley said.

Finley met with Aqueduct Authority officials on Thursday to discuss her concerns with the sewer project, which also included workers driving their dump trucks too fast in the area, she said.

The Aqueduct Authority agreed to have its contractor, Layne Heavy Civil, cut large holes in the fence, every 100 feet, Finley said. Aqueduct officials also agreed to tell the workers to slow down, Finley said.

"We are doing everything we can to protect the species there," Aqueduct Authority Executive Director Kirk Zuelch said.

tohara@keysnews.com

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