SURFRIDER FOUNDATION WINS IN FLORIDA
Comprehensive Beach Preservation Bill Passes Florida Legislature
Tallahassee, Fla.(May 8, 2007) –Surfrider Foundation’s ten Florida chapters saw success in the final days of the 2007 Florida Legislative Session, when sweeping beach management legislation benefiting beachgoers and coastal wildlife was passed unanimously by both the Florida House (HB7175) and Senate (SB1472). The legislation now awaits almost certain signature by newly elected Governor Crist.
After months of tireless effort, coastal groups are celebrating the passage of a bill that preserves the public’s right to access the beach and protects beach users and sea turtles from harm caused by an experimental form of coastal armoring. Florida now joins the ranks of Texas and Oregon with adequate beach access protection policy.
“We are delighted to finally see the full protection of beach access,” said Ericka D’Avanzo, Florida Regional Manager of the Surfrider Foundation. “Now recreational beach users can be assured that as growth continues along our coastline, we should not see any future loss of access points.” This was accomplished through a clarification of Florida Statue Chapter 161, which will ensure perpendicular beach access is equally important as lateral access.
Gary Appelson, Policy Coordinator for the Gainesville-based Caribbean Conservation Corporation and co-supporter, said, “It was exciting to see so many organizations working to protect Florida’s beaches. It was also heartening to see legislators standing up unanimously for the protection of sea turtles, as well as Florida’s beach and dune system.” The additional permitting requirements for geotextile tubes provide a more cautious blueprint for their selective use.
This bill was championed by Senators Dennis Jones and Burt Saunders and Representative Stan Mayfield. Other key and supportive entities included the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Department of Environmental Protection and other environmental groups, such as the Florida Ocean and Coastal Coalition.
All supporting organizations and agencies look forward to Governor Crist’s signature on this bill.