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Florida’s beaches are in constant need of restoration, to truck in sand that the sea washes away. In the wake of Hurricane Irma, miles of critically eroded beaches are in even more danger. Now a powerful lawmaker is once again trying to get funding to replenish the shorelines.

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

It seemed an obvious solution to Michael Oded, who was asked at the last minute Friday to get sandbags and secure his friend’s Davis Islands home from flooding.

Flickr

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.


Marc Haze / WUSF News

Hurricane season is well underway. And storms that hit the coast can wreak havoc on our state's beaches. This week on Florida Matters we're taking another listen to our discussion on beach erosion and how to repair it.


DEP

The sand on Siesta Beach on Florida's Gulf Coast is as fine as powdered sugar, a pure, sparkling white and soft as a kitten's fur — all because it's comprised of 99 percent pure crushed quartz.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF

It costs a lot of money to keep Florida’s beaches “postcard ready.” How much sand is on your favorite beach? In some cases, not quite enough.


Marc Haze / WUSF News

It's that time of year to hit the beach and soak up some rays, but in some areas erosion means there's not a lot of places to build a sand castle.

A bill awaiting Gov. Scott's signature - or possible veto - would mean $50 million for beach renourishment. This week on Florida Matters we'll talk about whether that funding is enough to tackle the issue of beach erosion across the state.


This past state legislative session, Florida’s beaches got the most funding for renourishment than they have in more than a decade: $50 million. 

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 25 at 7:30 a.m.), we’re exploring some of the many beaches around Tampa Bay, with a look at parking, water quality and recollections of beach days gone by.

Exploring Miami Beach one recent afternoon, Swiss tourists Adrian Cannistra and Shkunte Mustafa said they considered vacationing on a beach closer to home before booking the lengthy overseas flight.

Greece might have been ideal — with the financial crisis, bargains can be had and many Swiss are taking advantage. Cannistra has vacationed in Tunisia but said recent terrorist attacks there scared him away from North Africa.

"The Swiss don't go there anymore," he said. "They're afraid."

Parasailing Regulations Get Launched in Senate

Feb 14, 2014
Associated Press

An effort to impose minimum regulations on the parasailing industry, aided by video of a ghastly accident last summer that went viral on the Internet, is starting to get off the ground in the state Legislature.

Want to get away? Thinking about a place with warm water and soft sand? Sounds nice. But think twice before you wade into that inviting surf. Chances are there are stingrays in the area.

Every year, these timid, shellfish-eating cousins of the shark inflict excruciating injuries on thousands of swimmers and surfers from the Bahamas to Bahrain to both coasts of the United States.

While on vacation Monday at Florida's Seagrove Beach, east of Pensacola, NPR's Russell Lewis snapped a photo that's been picking up quite a few retweets. It wasn't "Sharknado II," but does seem to have caught folks' interest.

Cases of Disoriented Nesting Turtles on the Rise

Jul 15, 2013
morguefile.com

It's the middle of turtle nesting season, as adult turtles are coming ashore to lay their eggs. But Sarasota and Manatee beaches are seeing a high number of turtles getting lost.

Dalia / WUSF

It isn't exactly beach weather outside, but if you're looking for sand, you can find plenty at MOSI this week.

A 15-ton sand sculpture now sits in front of Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry. It was built Wednesday in anticipation of MOSI's new Sea Monsters Revealed exhibition and World Oceans Day on Saturday.

The carving is the handiwork of Sarasota-based Team Sandtastic, a group of five sculptors who've made masterpieces everywhere from Adventure Island to China to South Africa.

For us mere mortals, team member Patrick Harsh offers tips for building better sand castles.

Coastal expert Stephen P. Leatherman, a.k.a. Dr. Beach, released the 23rd version of his Top 10 Beach List, and the closest entry to the Tampa Bay Area is about 150 miles south of Tampa - Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park in Bonita Springs. Florida had two other entries in the list, St. George Island State Park in the Panhandle and Cape Florida State Park in Key Biscayne. Sarasota's Siesta Beach topped the list in 2011

FWC

You may have seen them on the beach, getting lovey-dovey in broad daylight. Perhaps you did your best to look away.

But we’re not talking about college kids having a spring break fling.

We’re talking about horseshoe crabs.

Beach Advisory for Pinellas Beaches

Jul 18, 2012

The Pinellas County Health Department issued a saltwater beach advisory for five Pinellas beaches:

  • Sand Key Park, Clearwater
  • Honeymoon Island, Dunedin
  • Indian Rocks Beach (1700 Gulf Blvd)
  • Madeira Beach, Archibald Park
  • Redington Shores (182nd Avenue W.)

These five locations could be a potential health risk to swimmers because of enteric bacteria that can cause human disease, infections, or rashes.

The next water sampling is scheduled for July 30th.

Tropical Storm Debby Causes Massive Beach Erosion

Jun 27, 2012
Jennifer Kopf

Tropical Storm Debby caused only about 3 feet of storm surge but that was propelled by high winds for more than 24 hours. That was enough for beach erosion.

And that could be bad for the tourism industry. According to Tampa Bay Times, lost beaches are lost business.

The beaches were part of Tampa's pitch to woo the Republican National Convention to town in August, as well as the longtime basis for the region's tourism industry.