Southwest Florida boat-dock permits missing

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- Almost 200 boat-dock permits are missing from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which are the agencies responsible for permits in area waterways, the News-Press reported in an article today.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers claims that there are 350 permits waiting for approval from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, according to officials with the Corp. However, Federal wildlife managers said they only have requests for 162 boat slips, stated the newspaper.

"We send them by FedEx," Skip Bergman, team leader in the Corps’ regulatory office in Fort Myers, told the newspapers. "I have no idea of how [U.S. Fish & Wildlife] reports them. I don’t know where they are."

But Bert Byers, spokesman for the Vero Beach office of U.S. Fish & Wildlife that handles permits, told the paper that he doesn’t know why there’s a discrepancy.

"We keep very accurate records," Byers told the News-Press.

Finding where the discrepancy occurred is not in the plans, as the agencies have different supervisors and do not have authority over one another, the newspaper reported.

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In addition, there may be as many as 1,000 permits from Southwest Florida waiting for approval, according to estimates from local contractors and marine organizations, the newspaper stated.

Cape Coral City Manager Terry Stewart told the News-Press that in his city, there are about 100 dock permits that have been at U.S. Fish & Wildlife for more than five months.

The city sued the secretary of the Interior, U.S. Fish & Wildlife and Army Corps in federal court in Fort Myers in August, claming that the service was holding dock permit applications longer than the law allows, according to the newspaper.

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