GOLFPLEX violates laws

Spinnaker

By Heather Furey and Josh Gore

Environmental Services Inc. released a report Jan. 19 that shows how UNF violated laws that protect the natural landscape of certain areas inside the GOLFPLEX.

The report also shows how these areas can be restored, and they are now being monitored.

The report was subsequently sent to the St. Johns River Water Management District who will review the report’s recommendations and make a decision on whether it agrees with the report or enforces stiffer penalties and possibly a financial one.

This isn’t the first time that UNF violated environmental laws.

The last accidental clearing occurred in 2008 and ESI submitted a restoration plan detailing the remediation actions to UNF Jan. 19. After reviewing the report the GOLFPLEX will find out if they will be fined or not.

“I talked with UNF late last night, and they said the report would be sent sometime [Jan. 19],” said Teresa Monson, spokesperson for the St. John’s River Water Management District. “Since we haven’t gotten the report yet, we are unable to review it at this time. It depends on if they mailed it or walked the report over to us, to how late in the day we will receive it.”

The report, in full, describes the seven areas and their status, the originally proposed action, any action that has occurred so far and any newly proposed restoration activities. UNF was authorized to proceed with restoration activities, but they have yet to occur.

Chris Wrenn, UNF associate general counsel, confirmed there was clear violations found in the report. He wouldn’t be surprised if the university was fined since it’s a second time violation, he said.

McCumber Golf, who maintains the GOLFPLEX, may be responsible for paying the fines or paying for restoration, Wrenn said.

UNF and McCumber Golf also are reviewing their contract, and both parties will soon agree on a new contract, Wrenn said.

The wetland restoration needs to be monitored in the fall for a period of three years with reports sent to the SJWMD, according to the ESI report.

The report also says the Wildlife Sanctuary manager will do monthly inspections.

 

E-mail Heather Furey at

[email protected]