SUN PHOTO/CINDY LANE
These Australian pines are among those slated for removal from the Palma Sola Causeway.
By Cindy Lane
sun staff writer
STOP wants Australian pines on the Palma Sola Causeway topped, not toppled, spokeswoman Marsha Lindsey said.
Eighteen trees on the north side of the Causeway are scheduled for removal beginning July 10, according to Ingrid McClellan of Keep Manatee Beautiful. The trees will be topped first by Florida Power & Light because they are too tall to remove without endangering power lines.
"I would think just topping them would be a solution," said Lindsey, who formed Stop Taking Our Pines on Anna Maria Island in 2004.
STOP has protested the removal by phone and letter and may stage a protest on the Causeway, she said.
"We’re trying to keep the trees from being completely obliterated," Lindsey said. "We think they have as many good purposes as reasons to take them out."
For example, they provide homes for wildlife, as evidenced by pines recently removed on Coquina Beach that held bird nests, she said.
About 70 trees were removed from the beach parking lot when it was redesigned to minimize vehicle cruising.
"Part of the thing we don’t understand is the haste with which they did that," she said. "They had no consideration of the wildlife. The whole ecological slant (of removing a non-native species) became a moot point."
Three Australian pines were removed from the south side of the Causeway and replaced with more than 75 native plants, including palms, McClellan said.
The palms do not provide as much shade or wildlife habitat as the pines, Lindsey said, adding, "If that’s an example of what they intend to do, the beautification of the Causeway was a failure."