World's largest mall may be coming to Miami-Dade County

Absolute horror, this mall will destroy the last remaining Pine Rocklands.

Pine rocklands are increasingly under threat by developers and county commissioners who seem to wish to pave over what remains of this rare and unique ecosystem. Less than 2% of the original pine rocklands remain outside of Everglades National Park, The largest tract outside of Long Pine Key is Navy Wells, but the Richmond tract is the second largest, containing 21% of the remaining pine rocklands!

Please voice your opposition to this atrocity!

Most of you have most likely heard about the “Richmond Pineland” property by ZooMiami being sold by the University of Miami to a developer, who wants to bulldoze acres of the land to build a housing development, a Walmart and a retail shopping mall! The property is one of the largest remaining pine rockland habitat in Miami-Dade County outside of Everglades National Park, and represents a big part of the 2% which remains.

Florida Duskywing (Ephyriades brunnea), taken by Barbara DeWitt, at an FNAI survey we did on the Coast Guard property, in danger now what I consider to be a madman's desire to put an amusement park ("Miami Wilds") in its place.

The area by ZooMiami includes the Richmond tract, the Coast Guard Communications Station, and smaller tracts of pine rocklands still belonging to the University of Miami. It is home to not only the ‘imperiled’ Atala butterfly, but also two other pineland denizens, Bartram’s Scrub Hairstreak (Strymon acis bartrami) and the Florida Leafwing (Anaea troglodyta floridalis), both recently listed as ‘Endangered’ by the USFWS. In addition, this property is adjacent to the Coastguard pinelands, where the Florida Duskywing (Ephyriades brunnea floridensis), another imperiled butterfly can be found.

There are endangered Bonneted Bats (Eumops floridanus) on the site, and the Richmond pine rocklands only place in the world where you can see the beautiful green iridescent Miami Tiger Beetle (Cicindela scabrosa floridana). Tiger beetles are named for their aggressive stalking and lightning-fast predation. I added my name to the emergency petition submitted to the US Fish and Wildlife Service to get the Miami Tiger Beetle listed as federally endangered.This is one of those "ornamental" insects!

There are also plants located on the site that are listed as endangered! The deltoid spurge (Chamaesyce deltoidea) is there in the Richmond tract, which successfully stopped the destruction of Rockdale pine rockland many years ago, but it did not have to fight the mayor, the president of the University of Miami, the big bad dog developer, as well as seemingly the county itself! Times have changed very sadly.

The Richmond tract also has Brickell-bush (Brickellia mosieri) and tiny polygala (Polygala smallii) growing in its limestone substrate. That is a harsh environment to survive, but the unique plants, insects and mammals evolved over millennia together. Destroying them for the sake of an amusement park and shopping plazas is just insane.

All parties seem to be oblivious to damage they are causing. The entire extent along SW 152 Street in Miami is an extremely valuable ‘corridor’ that hosts all of these butterflies, from the east coast to the furthest western boundary. There are not only remnant pinelands along the entire region, but there are many domestic gardens as well. One home near the zoo boasted a Martials Scrub Hairstreak (Strymon martialis) in their garden (host plant Florida Trema and Bay Cedar).

And yet, this is the area the city wants to declare a slum and blight, so they have the excuse to bring “economic development” to the community. The community does not need or want this kind of development. I do not know one person who would voluntarily opt to have a Walmart or an amusement park in their back yard. Please help us stand up against this travesty against our remaining wildlife and ecosystems!


More info: Save the South Florida Pine Rocklands

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