To the editor:
An excellent report by NBC2 News on July 9 correctly pointed out that the City of Cape Coral was taking an important wildfire prevention step in removing highly combustible melaleuca trees from Oasis Woods.
The report was timely as it followed the temporary closing of I-75 caused by a wildfire started by lightning in the nearby Estero-North Bonita Springs area, also with dense melaleuca trees. Editing constraints caused two very important points to go unreported in the Oasis Woods news story.
First, the removal of the melaleuca trees is being done at no cost to the City's taxpayers. Under a contract arrangement with Forestry Resources Ecological (FRE) of Fort Myers the company removes the trees to convert the harvested wood into Florimulch and Play Safe, landscape mulches which it sells through Forestry Resources commercial outlets. One hundred percent of the biomass removed from the site will be recycled. An undesirable exotic pest tree and fire hazard is transformed into a beneficial landscaping product.
Second, the arrangement between the city and FRE was facilitated by the Southwest Cape Coral Neighborhood Association (SWCCNA). Residents sharing a back boundary with the city-owned Oasis Woods brought their fears about the fire threat to their homes to the attention of SWCCNA. Upon being informed of these concerns the City of Cape Coral Public Works Department, the Environmental Resources Division and the Parks and Recreation Department responded quickly to take the steps to approve the removal of the melaleuca trees. Before work began the City's environmental biologists identified and marked for protection habitat areas of special interest, including over 30 gopher tortoise burrows.
The proactive, responsive efforts by all parties involved is appreciated and a valuable service was achieved to making our community safer.
Board of Directors