Residents: Spreader Removal has Harmed Estuary
Due to the removal of the Cape North Spreader Barrier in 2008, the back bay of the Matlacha Aquatic Preserve has seen a huge change, which has caused the sealife of the estuary to die off or migrate to another area.
Noel Andress, owner and broker of SunMark Realty Pine Island, is a fifth generation Florida native who has lived on Pine Island for 21 years. He also has a master's degree in geology. He said before Cape Coral was developed, there were tidal creeks that would drain the interior water and flow out to Matlacha Pass. When Cape Coral was developed, he said that pattern was disturbed. When the Rosen Brothers began developing Cape Coral in the 1970s, they harvested land from the marshes and dug canals, which the court put a halt to in order to protect the aquatic reserves. Retired Biologist and Aquatic Ecologist Nancy Hindenach, a Matlacha resident, said the courts mandated that a barrier had to put in, which acted as the stormwater treatment that protected the reserve. She said all the runoff and septic tank waste was kept behind the barrier. The barrier was finally installed, with a 7,500-pound weight limit for the boat lift, which transferred boats from behind the barrier to the preserve. She said the reason behind the lift was to limit the size of the boat, along with retaining the water in the estuary. "It would allow pollutants to settle out and reduce the amount of turbulence," Hindenach said. The lift eventually broke down because it was not being monitored or repaired, they said.