Our Halpatiokee Fight
The Alliance worked hard to help establish the Savannas Preserve State Park, (SPSP) which was officially created in 1977. We celebrated an addition to the SPSP, along the North Fork of the St. Lucie River (NFSLR), called the Buffer Preserve, in 1992, because we knew that our small North Fork had an extraordinary riverine ecology, with abundant and rare biodiversity.
Earlier, in 1972, we celebrated the creation of the NFSLR-Aquatic Preserve, knowing that if any river deserved that designation it was our North Fork. Over the years we have taken action to protect this unique ecosystem.
We took it personally when the city of Port St. Lucie declared its intention to build a 6-lane bridge right through the ecological heart of these Preserve State Parks.
Construction of the proposed bridge will degrade the SPSP Buffer and Aquatic Preserves of the North Fork. It will destroy the Halpatiokee Trails section of the Buffer Preserve altogether.
That’s why we call this our Halpatiokee fight.
But we also fear that a precedent is being set if the construction of the bridge, along the particular route known as Route 1C, is allowed to proceed. Laws put in place to protect parkland and areas with high ecological values, (including federally and state listed species), could be readily and easily disregarded in the future using the law-avoiding template that is being created here.
We’re fighting to protect our Preserve State Parklands here, but also anywhere else they are vulnerable to political maneuvering that tries to disregard laws designed to protect parklands, our environment, and threatened species.
On May 16, 2014, our attorneys, Robert N. Hartsell and Sarah M. Hayter of Hartsell Law, and Rachel S. Doughty of Greenfire Law, filed a brief against the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. We are alleging that the agencies violated Section 4(f) of the Transportation Act and the Administrative Procedures Act when they approved the selection of the Route 1C bridge and agreed to provide federal funds for its construction. (See Halpatiokee Legal Defense for more information on our legal fight.)
We feel that this is a critically important fight for everyone who cares about the sanctity of parklands and the integrity of our most valued ecosystems.
We ask that you join us in our fight and donate whatever you can to our Halpatiokee Legal Defense Fund. Your contributions are tax deductible.
We believe that an informed public will see the import of what we feel to be a noble cause and want to help us win this fight. Below are several sources of additional information that we hope will ignite that fire in the belly.
We encourage you to read our White Paper, “Our Fight to Save Two Preserve State Parks: Why Our Fight Matters: To Us and To You.” It is a great source to see the bigger ecological story of our area and what the various reviewing agencies said about the destructive environmental impacts of the Route 1C bridge. Before the political maneuvering began these agencies freely voiced their grave concerns.