Communities across Florida are preparing for the potential impact of Hurricane Irma, and one natural line of defense we have is the state’s beaches.
But not all beaches are equally suited to protect us, thanks to past storm damage, coastal development and Florida’s ever-changing landscape.
This week on Florida Matters we’re taking another listen to our discussion on coastal erosion and how to fix it.
This past spring, Pinellas County State Senator Jack Latvala and Representative Kathleen Peters sponsored bills aimed at saving the state’s beaches from continued erosion.
Coastal management legislation that would have, among other things, created a three-year work plan for prioritizing which renourishment projects to fund each year overwhelmingly passed the Senate but failed to make it through the House.
But lawmakers did agree to dedicate a minimum of $50 million for renourishment efforts – more than the state has given to beaches in over a decade.
Is the boost in state funding enough to combat the issue of coastal erosion? And is it even worth spending money replenishing beaches that Mother Nature may soon wash away?
Our panel to discuss these topics includes:
- State Representative Kathleen Peters (R-Treasure Island).
- Robin Sollie, President and CEO of the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce.
- Andy Squires, Coastal Resources Manager for Pinellas County and board member with the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association.
- Ryan Mills, reporter with the Naples Daily News. Mills co-produced last year’s Shrinking Shores series which helped shed light on Florida’s beach erosion problem.
Is your favorite beach slipping away due to erosion? Share your thoughts and photographs with us in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.