We have no explanation for why a USACOE Park Ranger is issuing tickets to boats anchored on the Caloosahatchee River portion of the Okeechobee Waterway, but it’s a safe bet it has something to do with the low water levels on Lake Okeechobee. Perhaps the Corps is simply trying to keep as many boats as possible off the OWW during these times of historic low water.
Time to get the bloggers going. A USACOE park ranger from the Franklin Locks is writing $100.00 fine United States District Court Violation Notices to boaters on the Caloosahatchee. If you donâ€™t pay, you get a federal warrant sworn out for your arrest.
Apparently the Park Ranger can write these boating tickets based on the 1948 Flood Control Act, Central and South Florida Project, that governs the Caloosahatchee, Lake O and the St. Lucie Canal.
I asked the attorney from the Jacksonville Office why a park ranger from the Franklin Locks is writing tickets on the River now when there hadnâ€™t seemed to be any in the past. Of course the attorney didnâ€™t know anything about itâ€¦.. (they donâ€™t seem to know much up there..)
Chilling effect on local businesses along the River?
The tickets are being written to those anchored off (or Mediterranean moored to) the LaBelle City Dock. At least one arrest warrant has already been issued.
W.E. “Ted” Guy, Jr.
Iâ€™ve also heard an ACOE ranger is writing tickets by the Indiantown Marina.
Here’s a update from Captain Foster, as of 7/8/11:
Thanks for your continued interest. Iâ€™m very concerned that an Army Corp park ranger is cruising up and down the Caloosahatchee writing tickets that may or may not be legitimate even under the federal statute. Of course the big problem is the expense of fighting the ticket in federal court in Fort Myers rather than paying the $100.00 fine. The only response I got from the Army Corp is they have authority to write them under Title 36. And of course getting any response from the Army Corp took about 10 phone calls on my part. Good to know our federal tax dollars are being put to such good useâ€¦.
Neither the Hendry County sheriff nor FWC were aware of these tickets. If I hear any more Iâ€™ll let you know.
Assuming the boaters were doing nothing illegal, I would suggest they immediately contact the larger local newspapers and television stations with their story.
Didnâ€™t the word get out? Everything is illegal.
Did not see anything in the title that shows anchoring as a violation, maybe itâ€™s hidden somewhere else or would someone post the details on the actual ticketâ€¦
SUMMARY: Section 4 of this Act authorizes the Corps, under the supervision of the Secretary of the Army, to construct, maintain and operate public park and recreational facilities at water resources development projects (16 U.S.C. 460(d)). Local interests are also permitted to construct, operate and maintain such facilities with permission from the Secretary of the Army. Water areas of all such projects shall be open to public use generally, for boating, swimming, bathing, fishing, and other recreational purposes, and ready access to and exit from such water areas along the shores of such reservoirs shall be maintained for general public use, when such use is not found to be contrary to the public interest. The lease of public lands and structures at water projects is also authorized. Recreational uses must be consistent with State laws for the protection of fish and game. All persons designated by the Chief of Engineers for enforcement shall have the authority to issue a citation for violation of the regulations adopted by the Secretary of the Army. Amendments to this Act extend the development of recreation to non-reservoir projects.