With the regular session looming, state Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Melbourne, and state Rep. Chip LaMarca, R-Lighthouse Point, brought out a coastal management bill “to help keep Florida’s pristine beaches preserved by addressing erosion control and sand management” towards the end of last week.
“The bill revises the criteria used by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to prioritize coastal restoration projects based on need and importance,” Mayfield’s office noted on Friday. “Criteria for ranking beach and inlet sand management projects will be refined to better capture the economic importance of healthy beaches to tourism, storm damage reduction and resource protection. In addition to economic benefits, there is criteria to rank projects based on Federal and local matching funds, recreational benefits, project significance, project mobility, readiness-to-proceed, dune enhancement, habitat protection, and strategies to conserve sand resources.”
“This legislation will also increase transparency and accountability from DEP by raising their project reporting requirements,” Mayfield’s office added. “SB 446 creates a 3-year work plan so that Florida can maximize federal dollars and local project sponsors can anticipate required funding needs, final design, and secure permits so that projects can proceed to timely construction.”
“The bill focuses efforts on effective sand management at our inlets, which has long been considered the number one cause of beach erosion on Florida’s East Coast. The bill also brings much needed modernization to the ranking system for beach and inlet sand projects,” LaMarca said.
“Coastal management is an integral part of preserving our pristine beaches. This legislation will ensure that our unique natural resources are properly maintained and protected for generations to come,” Mayfield said on Friday.