I just received your September issue and was shocked to read your front-page article on “Suffering summer of sargassum” full of inaccurate information. I and South Florida would appreciate the honest truth be published regarding our beaches and sargassum/human waste handling.  
Even though FDEP, FWC, the town of Highland Beach and both tractor companies all use the words “clean the beach,” the beach has never been mechanically cleaned by either tractor company since they started operating 40 years ago.
No one should be using the word “clean.” Nothing is removed from our beach. There are not two teams working, with one clearing large debris and trash from the seaweed, and nothing is buried — and should not be since the weed is intermingled with human garbage.
Both weed and human garbage are just rearranged and raked under to rot and smolder, creating more and longer-term gases along with the accumulation of garbage.
The tractor operations consist of one tractor with a simple rake and roller attached to the back and a front bucket. The weeds and garbage are left in disarranged mounds amid tractor ruts, partially covered with sand to fester.
The tractor companies sign the FDEP permit to clean the beach, they advertise they clean the beach, and they bill their clients for cleaning the beach — and clean nothing? All the while trespassing and rutting up all beachfront property owners’ property, causing damage to the dune system and sand loss.
You are more than welcome to sit on my beachfront patio and watch the tractor operations. I also have hours of video and hundreds of photos.
I enjoy reading your newspaper and it shows the research and knowledge that goes into most articles, and I believe that your group works for a better Florida and its beaches. Please research anything to do with any tractor company’s statements. They have been lying for 40 years and I honestly think that they have convinced themselves and now believe they are providing a good environmental service.

Robert Patek
Highland Beach

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  • FWC - provides the languge for the retstrictions in the permits

    FDEP accepts the application with the FWC language on it and  issues the permits to the rakers, the permit with languge is availablle for you ask your city for a copy. Look closely because FDEP does not, beach rakers are notorius for dropping off the last few 

    The language is below 

    7. Burial or storage of any debris (biotic or abiotic) collected is prohibited seaward of the 50 foot setback.  Removal of accumulated debris from the beach must occur immediately after cleaning has been performed.

    1. Operators of mechanical beach cleaning equipment shall avoid all native, salt tolerant dune vegetation by a minimum of 10 feet.

    If your beach raker violates the law, notify your town. Most towns are clueless with exception of Juno beach. Maybe a few other - I would like to know which ones actually comply with FWC guidelines. 

    My town openly violates both ot these rules because it is less work. Boca condos rake out their dunes of garbage mostly plastic and set it in piles for the beach bulldozers to bury. When we have king tides it all surfaces and they have to re-bury it again.   The condos would not have all that garbage in their dunes to begin with if they did not bury it. They just push it back an forth until some good samartin finally picks it up manually. 

    I have notified FWC they inform me that FDEP enforces, I notify FDEP and they do nothing about it.  I would suggest that FWC enforces the language they write not FDEP. FWC recomends manual cleaning of the beach. Mechanical cleaning does not work. It is just smoke and mirrors.  If anyone has any suggestions on how to get FDEP to do their job please let me know. 




  • I agree.  Our beaches are among the worst I've seen.  Highland Beach is such a clean town...until you walk on our beaches.  Nothing is cleaned.  Beaches up north are raked daily, ours looks like a plow joy ride, doing nothing to make our beaches mirror A1A's cleanliness.  Time to find a new tractor company.

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