Couple fined $1.6 million for cutting mangroves

Published: Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 8:17 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 8:17 a.m.

JUPITER, Fla. — A Palm Beach County couple's decision to chop down 109 mangroves from their property along the Loxahatchee River may cost them $1.6 million.

Magistrate Paul Nicoletti on Wednesday ordered Roger and Myrna Byrd to pay the town of Jupiter $15,000 per tree.

The Palm Beach Post ( ) reports the Byrds didn't have proper state and town permits when they cleared the mangroves. The couple turned down an offer from Jupiter officials to pay $1,000 per tree.

Attorney Greg Kino says his clients will appeal the ruling.

The Byrds still face a potential $43,100 fine from the state Department of Environmental Protection for chopping down the mangroves.

The spindly trees act as a nursery for sea life and reduce erosion. They have been protected by the state since 1985.

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