Cape Coral Spreader Canals
Chiquita Lock Removal
Chiquita Lock is the last of several barriers originally installed in Cape Coral to control storm-water runoff. These systems were designed to store water for natural treatment along the mangrove fringe, mimic the natural sheet flow of water from north to south, and prevent saltwater intrusion into our groundwater.
The lock was originally mandated to be installed by a court-ordered consent decree due to the City digging much of it’s freshwater canal system without proper permitting.
Over the years, the City of Cape Coral and Florida Department of Environmental Protection have allowed mangrove breaches on the western wall to go unmitigated. This is now their argument for the lock serving no purpose. In reality, it is an inconvenience to boaters, and the primary motivation for removal is an expected boost in property values for property owners behind the lock.
A city born from the water may not always doing its best to protect it.
Ceitus Boat Lift & Barrier
A scenario just like Chiquita Lock has already played out in the Northwest Spreader System of Cape Coral. After years of discourse and court battles, the City removed the Ceitus Barrier as a convenience to boaters.
In the years since, Matlacha Pass has been named an impaired water body and dramatic silting has taken place directly downstream of the Northwest Spreader System’s exit directly into the Matlacha Pass Preserve.
Continued development in N. Cape Coral with plans such as the D&D Boat Ramp site and the major Seven Islands District will continue to put greater pressure on these delicately balanced estuary habitats.
In 2019, several petitioners challenged the City of Cape Coral’s application and FDEP’s Notice of Intent To Issue an Environmental Resources Permit to permanently remove the Chiquita Lock. After 3 days of hearings, an Administrative Law Judge sided with the citizens and denied the FDEP permit. However, the City of Cape Coral immediately authorized more monies for legal and environmental consultants and it appears they are intent on trying again.
Please stay tuned to Calusa Waterkeeper’s social media or email newsletters for future updates.
Chiquita Lock Resources
- Chiquita Lock Position Paper
- City of Cape Coral, DER & GAC Consent Order
- Chiquita Lock Stormwater Letters, Livingston/Baron
- Calusa Waterkeeper Chiquita Lock Public Comments to FDEP 1 (2017)
- Chiquita Lock FDEP Supporting Documentation
- Calusa Waterkeeper Chiquita Lock Public Comments to USACE
- Chiquita Lock Petition for Administrative Hearing
- Chiquita Lock DOAH ALJ Final Order
- City of Cape Coral Chiquita Lock Transcript of Executive Session
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Chiquita Lock & Ceitus Barrier
Removing Chiquita Lock an Environmental Disaster
The City of Cape Coral seeks a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to permanently remove the Chiquita Lock, just as it removed the Ceitus Boat Lift 10 years ago with serious impacts to the Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve.
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