Dear fellow beachside residents,
Following is a letter I am circulating to officials & staff of our city, as well as neighbors and fellow activists, regarding our City’s landscaping practices and how they affect the environment. Your comments are welcome, and anyone who wants to join in an effort to promote the use of our tax dollars for more eco-appropriate landscaping is welcome to contact me. Also, anyone reading this is welcome to use any of this verbiage in your own communications with your local government officials, as well as HOAs or other bodies.
Hi everyone! Hope you are having a good week. Questions:
- Who (which person/people, which department) makes the actual decisions as to what gets planted on public property and how it is maintained? For example, the beachside police precinct on Harvey. Does Public Works make those decisions or is it Planning, City Manager’s office or some other department(s)?
- What would it take for neighborhood residents to have a say in what gets planted on city properties in their neighborhoods, and how it is maintained? For example, at the beachside police precinct, replacing high-maintenance turfgrass with more authentic coastal vegetation such as sea grape and tall dune grasses and dune wildflowers, that supports the local wildlife while radically cutting back on irrigation, and reducing use of noisy, intrusive gas-powered equipment in neighborhoods.
- Regarding spraying of sidewalks by herbicide trucks: What would it take for a neighborhood to get this sidewalk spraying stopped? Would a group of neighbors need to get up a petition, or just submit a formal request or what?
- Alternatively, is there an opt-out list where individual property-holders can register their addresses as no-spray zones? (The contractors driving the spray trucks are friendly and respectful, and they know to avoid spraying close to my garden, but I would like there to be a way for any interested homeowners to officially opt out.)
Attaching photo of starved manatee from the front page of today’s News-Journal, to show why our landscaping practices are of utmost urgency. I know this is hard to look at, but it’s important.
Everything we do on the land leads to the waterways. Healthy seagrass and clean waterways are essential not only for our iconic manatees, but for an entire web of life on which we ALL depend.
AND, the ecological urgency aside, we have opportunity to save a LOT of money and labor which can then be channeled to urgent landscaping tasks such as heat mitigation, drought-flood mitigation, pollinator support, ecosystems restoration.
If you need guidance or hands-on help with any of this, never fear! Our region has many extremely knowledgeable public-service organizations (native plant societies, permaculture guild, county soil & water conservation board, citizen experts etc), any of whom would be delighted to support the City or any department interested in sustainable landscaping. Also, I as an individual am always at your service!
Thank you to each and every one of you for the important work you do to keep our city running.
All the best to you,