Increased Awareness
By Terrance F. Roach (Standing Watch Member)

Good Evening : My name is Terrance F. Roach and I have been a resident of Lee County for the past 15 years. I wanted to let Standing Watch know; 1) that I am 100% behind its efforts, and 2) what I have tried to do to increase my neighbors awareness of this issue.

I had heard of S. Watch over the past several months but had not become involved until the rally in Cape Coral. I listened to the speakers and was immediately enlightened to the potential consequences of the disastrous U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposed rule.

I am a waterfront property owner in Waterway Estates in N. FT. Myers, have a dock, and a boat. In fact, I live on the end of the Atlantic canal, and myself and both neighbors at the end of the canal ( legally permitted and constructed) a docking area that enclosed the end of the canal with 3 boat lifts and walk around wooden docks for the entire area. In fact, we had to have a joint use agreement drafted by an attorney and submitted to the county for approval prior to our permits being issued. I went back to my records and became aware of one important point. If I wanted to complete this project today, I would have been denied a permit. What I did in 1996 would not be allowed, and would affect my property rights, and probably my ability to enjoy my boat out on the river. THAT IS WRONG !!

So, I thought the best thing to do would be to join S. Watch and fight this issue . I sent in my application, and had my mother, brother, and sister do the same. I had my annual garage sale the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and gave out approximately 35 membership applications. I put together a posterboard with the latest S. Watch newsletter and had it available for everyone to see and read if they were interested, and I informed everyone about the public hearing on 12/2 at harborside.

I have given out 5 applications to other neighbors, provided a dozen for my brother who is in construction and also a boat owner, and have given out over a 1/2 dozen at the High School where I work. I was even able to provide a few applications to people who were just out walking by my house.

Why am I telling you this ?? Not because I want kudos or thanks, but so you know that I HEARD your message, and myself and others need to take this issue seriously and fight for our rights !!! I made a sign ( Quite nice looking by the way ) that says UNLOCK OUR DOCKS. Red, white and blue. I live on the corner of Orangegrove Blvd. and Lakeview Blvd ( Very Visible ) and have been placing the sign out during some days. My objective was to have people see the sign, and if they don't understand the meaning, at least have them say to him or herself " What does UNLOCK OUR DOCKS mean. Obviously we need to all be on the same page with this fight, so if these tactics are not along with S. Watches goals and objectives then let me know, and I will do whatever. But, because I feel so strongly about this issue, I decided this was how I would start my own component of the protest.

When I was at the rally in Cape Coral I heard one gentleman say " for every one of us here today, there is another 200 who I know will support you "

In closing: I need to know if there is some type of formal process that generally follows the public comment meetings. I would certainly hope that F & W don't just have the hearing , let us make our comments, then we feel good that we had the opportunity to speak, and then that's it. What happens now ?? What else can I do now ?? I have written my letters to the legislative reps. the Governor, etc. I have been following the issue closely in the papers locally, and it sounds as though we are developing a game plan and have some heavyweights on our side.

However, I understand this is not just Save the Manatee Club. There is at least 15 + environmental organizations from around the country that are pooling their resources to fight us. Even though S. Watches voice seems to be getting heard loud and clear, THEY will not give up, and neither can WE.

When I think back 5 years ago, even I paid for and had a SAVE The Manatee license plate on my explorer. I had no idea what the issue was all about then. If " I " paid the registration fee, ( and money went to that organization) how many other people are being duped into the same game?

The manatee is a gentle , likable marine mammal. However, it needs to be protected at the right times, in the right places, and have a coexistence with the boaters and homeowners of all of Southwest Florida. Don't use this feel good science to infringe on my rights as a waterfront property owner and a registered boater here in Lee County. What happens next---all registered boat owners who live at an odd address can take their boats out on Mon. , Wed. , and Sat. , while those who live at even addresses can only take out their boats on Tues. , Thurs. , and Sunday. Its really not that farfetched.


Terrance F. Roach

P.O. Box 296, Estero, FL 33928 E-mail Standing Watch Call Standing Watch
Toll Free 1-866-263-5015 or in office 239-425-2504 ext 293
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