A long-time potato farm in the Density Reduction Groundwater Resource (DGRG) area in Lee County is seeking to become a mining operation. The Troyer Brothers Mine proposal involves the construction and excavation of a new limestone mine, as well as associated rock processing and ancillary operations. In order to do this, Troyer has applied for a 404 Clean Water Act permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).
The project site – 1,803.5 acres that would be forever changed with the resulting 781 acre mine pit– is proposed in the heart of one of the most environmentally-sensitive areas of eastern Lee County. The site is endangered Florida panther habitat and construction of the mine would sever flowways that sustain the Flint Pen Strand. As the Troyer site is surrounded by the Airport Mitigation Park, Sam Galloway Tract Preserve, Imperial Marsh Preserve, and the Corkscrew Regional Mitigation Bank, the project also jeopardizes adjacent public preserved and mitigation lands, as well as regional water resources.
State and federally protected species including species of special concern that have been observed on the site include:
- Crested caracara
- Bald eagle
- Wood stork
- Florida sandhill crane
- Roseate spoonbill
- Little blue heron
- Snowy egret
- Tri-colored heron
- Big Cypress fox squirrel.
In addition, the site contains viable habitat for a number of additional listed species, including the Everglades snail kite, the Florida black bear, and the Florida panther. This site is considered essential habitat for the critically endangered Florida panther (about 90% of the site is Primary Zone priority panther habitat, with the remainder being Secondary Zone panther habitat).
Protection of wildlife habitat, wetlands, flowways, and conservation lands is a legitimate public purpose to form the basis for FDEP to deny the request for a 404 Clean Water Act permit.
 Troyer Brothers Farms Wetland Mitigation and Monitoring Plan, March 2022, p.2
 Secondary Impact Analysis, March 2022, pp. 19-21