One very reliable location in Lee County for finding the endangered Florida Scrub-Jay is in the Festival Park area of Cape Coral. But there presence has become a major headache for that city.
The City had big plans for the location to create a recreational area for community sponsored festival and sporting events. Some $27 Million had already been spent acquiring the property. But development came to halt with discovery of three families of the Scrub-Jays about 2005 on the property. As the birds are on the National Protected Species List, they can not be disturbed.
Now what is the City to do? It comes down to two chooses. Do nothing and hope they go away or go ahead with a mitigation plan called a Habitat Conservation Plan. At a price tag of $780,025, to the City, they could get permits to go forward with development. The funds will be used to manage and maintain scrub-jay habitat at Alva Nature Park. The birds will not be moved. But to cover the costs, the city council is considering a one-time fee assessed to all property owners in the Cape, of not more than eight to ten dollars. As the citizens have taken great measures to protected their beloved burrowing owls, I can't see how a few dollars could stand in the way. Hopefully the future development will include suitable habitat for the birds so that they will remain and be enjoyed by so many.
Scrub Jay Plan Moving Forward
Interlocal agreement best choice on scrub jays issue
A Link to SunGlo Photography's entitled Florida Scrub Jay at Festival Park. An excellent video