THE COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT DILEMMA:
SPECIAL INTERESTS VS. PUBLIC INTEREST
CHWaL C ~
Clearwater, showing dredged up "fingers" and causeway, shifting beaches, and construction only feet above the Gulf.
The 1978 session of the Florida legislature will
make decisions which will determine the fate of
Florida's coastline. At stake is a proposed Coastal
Management Program (CMP) which was developed
after years of study in accordance with the Federal
Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. The Act
provides participating states with funds to develop
comprehensive programs to protect and manage their
The Congress acted because unplanned and un-
controlled growth was destroying "important
ecological, cultural, historic, and esthetic values in the
coastal zone which are essential to the well-being of
all citizens." Florida's coastal zone is also vulnerable
to life and property hazards due to hurricane floods.
Florida has approximately 11,000 miles of tidal
shoreline consisting primarily of beaches, tidal
marshes and mangrove swamps. The management area
of the CMP also encompasses the hurricane flood
zone and includes parts of 40 coastal counties, 203
incorporated municipalities, approximately 30% of
the state's land area, and over 75% of the state's
population. This area is now governed by a multitude
of laws and regulations which are administered by a
multiplicity of federal, state and local agencies -
often with overlapping authority and little or no
coordination or communication between various
The Coastal Zone Management Program is designed
to bring order out of this chaos by coordinating exist-
ing laws into a comprehensive plan that establishes
common policies, guidelines and objectives so that
all governmental agencies will operate under the same
ground rules and private interests will have clear-
cut guidelines as to what they can, and cannot, do
in the coastal zone before a development is planned
Most governmental agencies and many private
interests publicly support the theory of coastal
management. In practice, however, the'Florida CMP
has elicited howls of anguish from both private
interests and governmental agencies who view it as a
threat to their particular activity or authority. The
result is a babble of demands for special concessions
or exemptions which threaten to sabotage long-term
benefits from coastal management in the public
interest in exchange for short-term economic gains
and self-serving demands of special interests.
This issue of ENFO examines the public benefits
of the CZMP as contrasted to the objections
expressed by some special interests.
ENFO is a publication of the Florida Conservation Fuundation, researched and edited by the Environmental
Information Center, 935 Orange Avenue, Winter Park, Florida 32789.
William M. Partington, Jr., Director William R. Barada, Editor
THE NEED FOR COASTAL PLANNING -
The national CZM Act did not "ride in on the
wave of environmental hysteria which swept the
country in 1972" as some of its opponents have
charged. Marine scientists and conservationists have
been warning for decades that haphazard coastal
development and pollution were seriously affecting
ocean fisheries. Conflicts over demands for public
access to state-owned beaches and coastal waters have
an equally long history.
The federal government's concern for the de-
terioriation of coastal resources dates from the 1960's.
The problem was considered so serious that a special
Commission on Marine Science, Engineering and
Resources was established in 1966. The Commission's
report, issued in 1968, recommended a "management
system for this productive region in order to
ensure both its enjoyment and sound utilization."
The Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 is a direct
outgrowth of this report.
Congress found that population growth and
economic development in the coastal zone have
caused "the loss of living resources, wildlife, nutrient-
rich areas, permanent and adverse changes to eco-
logical systems, decreasing open space for public use,
and shoreline erosion."
Congress also acted because our limited coastal
resources are the most vital and most sadly neglected
of any in the nation. For example, coastal estuaries
are the most productive areas on earth, producing
more plant growth in a year than the most intensively
fertilized and sprayed corn field. This plant material
forms the bottom link of the food chain that
supports ocean life. Yet 75% of the nation's estuaries
have already been damaged by dredging or pollution.
Shallow coastal waters are the spawning and
nursery grounds for a host of marine life, including
approximately 80% of commercial food fish which
depend upon these areas for survival of their young.
But ocean pollution is also a serious threat to marine
life. A combination of ocean dumping and pollution
annihilated bottom fish and all clams, lobsters and
other marine life in 3000 square miles of ocean off
the New York;New Jersey coast in 1976. Along the
California coastline, 130 outfalls spewed 444 billion
gallons of domestic sewage into coastal waters each
year. This, plus shoreline alteration and industrial
wastes have virtually wiped out commercial fisheries
of Southern California that at one time produced
25% of all food fish caught in America.
The federal act does not address itself solely to the
protection of natural resources, however. Congress
declared it to be the national policy "To preserve,
protect, develop, and where possible, to restore or
enhance the resources of the nation's coastal zone for
this and succeeding generations." (emphasis added)
Not only fish and wildlife are threatened by hap-
hazard coastal construction and pollution. Only 2%
of the nation's coast is now in public ownership for
recreational use and the public's share of our beaches
is about one square inch per person. Access to even
these few areas is threatened by continued construc-
tion of second home resorts and condominiums in
many places. A number of public beaches are also
routinely closed to swimming because of pollution
and many others probably should be closed.
Moreover, misuse and negligent development of sandy
and dune areas has been a major cause of beach
Even water-dependent businesses and industries
such as recreational facilities, harbors, marinas and
energy facilities are in danger of being squeezed out
of coastal areas by intense competition and en-
croachment by non-water dependent industries and
The Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 is a
response to these problems. The Office of Coastal
Zone Management was created and placed under the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) in the Department of Commerce.
State participation in the federal program is
totally voluntary but financial assistance is provided
to help develop management programs. Federal
grants are available if state programs meet require-
ments specified in the law. Funding for both
development and implementation of state CMPs is
80% federal and 20% state with up to $2.3 million
per year available to Florida for implementation of
Additional benefits to states with approved pro-
grams are provided in the "consistency" provision of
the federal law which includes strong measures to
ensure that all federal actions, projects, and permits
will be consistent with the provisions of the state
CMP to the maximum extent possible.
Thus, if Florida's CMP is adopted by the Legisla-
ture and approved by NOAA, federal agencies will be
on notice that they must abide by the state's
established ground rules and exhaustive, expensive
fights to stop objectionable federal projects should
largely be eliminated.
The Act requires that federally owned or con-
trolled lands must be excluded from state coastal
management areas, but this does not remove or
reduce the obligations for federal consistency in
activities and projects on these lands.
Other federal benefits (in addition to funding and
consistency) if the CMP is approved are: 1. The state
will have a more powerful voice as a potential
"adjacent coastal state" under the Deep Water Port
Act of 1974. 2. A more formal role is provided in
reviewing Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas
development plans. 3. Florida will be in a better posi-
tion to receive federal funds for the purchase of
estuarine sanctuaries, islands and shorefront access
The greatest benefit to Florida from CZMA partici-
pation, however, is the provision for sensible, compre-
hensive plans for the protection and proper utiliza-
tion of its coastal resources.
THE NEED FOR COASTAL PLANNING -
No other area in the nation is as vital or as
desperately in need of protection as the coastal zone,
and of the thirty coastal states and four territories
(including the Great Lakes) that need the benefits of
comprehensive planning, Florida is near the top.
The long, narrow peninsula is bordered by three
major bodies of water; the Gulf of Mexico, the
Atlantic Ocean and the Florida Straits. Its warm
ocean waters make it the nation's most popular
winter water playground primarily because it is the
only state with tropical waters and tropical islands to
which Americans can drive in their own vehicles.
Florida's 11,000 miles of tidal shoreline is ten times
Ipnger than that of its arch rival, California, and its
ocean waters are approximately 20 degrees warmer
in both summer and winter.
The wide diversity of Florida's coastal zone pro-
vides uniquely beautiful and productive habitats that
support species of fish and wildlife found no other
place on earth. Florida, next to Hawaii, has the
greatest number of rare, threatened or endangered
species of any state in the United States and the
majority of these are in the coastal zone. Among
these are the dusky seaside sparrow, the American
crocodile, and the Florida manatee.
The southern tip of the peninsula is dominated by
vast expanses of wetlands such as the Big Cypress and
Everglades and by the mangrove-fringed islands and
hundreds of square miles of shallow grass flats of the
Florida Keys. These unique wetlands and shallow
coastal waters provide the nutrients and nursery
grounds that support one of the world's most pro-
ductive marine fisheries.
The Florida Keys also contain the only living coral
reefs adjacent to the North American Continent, and
the coral reefs are among the most biologically pro-
ductive, taxonomically diverse and aesthetically
celebrated of all communities.
Florida's southern ocean waters support a prolific
commercial fishery in shrimp, lobsters and shellfish -
and are one of America's most popular sportfishing
areas and the Keys coral reefs attract approxi-
mately 300,000 skin divers per year.
The Atlantic coast has a long pattern of barrier
islands with sandy beaches lying between salt marshes
and the open ocean. These islands form estuarine
transition zones between the mainland and marine
waters and are constantly growing, shifting and
shrinking in response to storms and to fluctuations
in season, sea level, currents, and sediment supply.
The island uplands support dune vegetation, tropical
hammocks, and palms. Salt marshes and mangrove
swamps are usually found on the estuarine side of the
Florida's sandy beaches are also constantly shifting
and changing in response to the elements and these,
as well as the barrier islands, are dynamic ecosystems
which provide a unique habitat for important species
of fish and wildlife. The marine fisheries off the
Ospreys nesting on a red mangrove.
Atlantic coast enjoy an international reputation for
excellence in sport fishing for big game species such
as sailfish, pompano, and king mackerel. Offshore
bottom fishing is rated as some of the finest in the
world and the shallow estuarine waters are equally
productive for both commerical and sport fishing.
Fishermen from all over the world come to Florida to
catch fish that migrate along the coast and into
shallow tidal waters to spawn.
The Gulf coast has fewer barrier islands than the
Atlantic but more major rivers flow into these waters,
forming giant estuaries which are a mixture of salt
water and fresh water with open connections to the
sea. The estuarine systems with their bays, lagoons,
marshes, mangroves, and sea grass beds are some of
the world's most productive areas. The Gulf fisheries
are even more abundant than those of the Atlantic,
and the Panhandle coast of northern Florida, which is
dominated by major rivers flowing from the
Apalachian Mountains, supports one of the most
prolific oyster and crab fisheries in America.
Florida's coastal systems are not only vital to the
production of fish and wildlife, however. The
functioning of these natural systems also perform
"free" services that are essential to human welfare
and the economy of the state.
"FREE" SERVICES PROVIDED BY
Coastal systems, if allowed to function naturally,
perform useful work for humans at no cost in con-
struction or maintenance. Once these systems are
Sand castle contest at Pensacola.
destroyed, however, the services they provide are
usually gone forever because very few can be restored
or duplicated by human technology and then only at
an exhorbitant cost in both dollars and energy.
For example, despite the advertising and publicity
given to such man-made attractions as Disney World,
Sea World, and Bush Gardens, surveys disclose that
the top-rated attraction for Florida tourists is our
sandy beaches. Since tourism is the state's leading
industry and the sandy beaches comprise less than
one-tenth of Florida's shoreline, it makes good
economic sense to nurture and protect this vital
natural resource with every means at the state's
Yet a 1974 Corps of Engineers report states that
more than 200 miles of Florida's beaches are
critically eroded, primarily due to man-made struc-
tures and alterations. The cost of restoring these
beaches was estimated by the Florida Bureau of
Beaches and Shores at approximately $600,000 per
mile, plus more than $25,000 per mile each year
for maintenance (in 1973 dollars).
Miami Beach is a prime example of the economic
impact resulting from misuse of sandy beaches. Sand
dunes were replaced with hotels and the public was
excluded. The beaches which attracted tourists to the
hotels eroded and pollution from sewage outfalls
made the once-clear waters unattractive to swimmers.
Even though the beaches were restored at an ex-
horbitant cost to local and federal taxpayers, Miami
Beach has now been termed an "economic cripple"
and is seeking legalized casino gambling as a substi-
tute for its former natural attractiveness.
Much of Florida's beach erosion is caused by
commercial and residential development which also
restricts the public's use of the beaches because
property owners are not required to provide access
to the publicly-owned wet sand beach.Much of the
state's limited sandy beaches are in private owner-
ship, thus, both the public interest and economic
benefits that sandy beaches provide to the citizens of
Florida have been subverted to the short-term benefit
of a handful of private property owners and business
Even more appalling is the life and property
hazard created by urban development that has been
permitted and even encouraged within the hurricane
flood zone. Few newcomers to Florida have any
concept of the devastating power of these phenomena
in which the surface of the ocean can rise upward to
heights of 11 to 18 feet above sea level and a wall of
water topped by 40 to 50 foot waves surges over the
land, flooding highways and demolishing buildings
many miles inland from the coastline.
Approximately one-half of the Florida coastal
zone is within the 100 year hurricane flood zone and
the Corps of Engineers estimates that only a 10-foot
storm tide would flood 50% of all coastal areas
developed on land below an elevation of 20 feet
above sea level.
The National Hurricane Service in Miami states
that hurricanes are a statistical certainty in Florida
and that the state is building toward a major hurri-
cane disaster which could reach the proportions of an
unbelievable catastrophe. Evacuation saved many
lives in the past but increased congestion and
inadequate escape routes make it impossible today.
Yet development continues in flood-prone areas.
Home buyers become the innocent victims when
disaster strikes and taxpayers, not the developers,
help pay the cost.
Coastal systems such as barrier islands, marshes,
mangrove swamps, sand dunes and other low lying
areas are nature's first line of defense against hurri-
cane tides. Developments in these areas expose
residents to hurricane floods and reduce or destroy
the natural ability of these areas to absorb and
disperse storm tides. In some cases canals and
channels enable flooding to spread farther inland.
Coastal marshes and mangrove swamps also absorb
and retain fresh water runoff needed to recharge
groundwater systems and prevent salt water intrusion
into potable water supplies which are crucial to both
human activities and coastal ecosystems. Studies
show that one acre of marsh will absorb and hold
300,000 gallons of stormwater runoff. Marshes serve
as settling basins for silt, chemicals, and organic
material, and by converting these nutrients into
vegetation they act as cleansing agents which purify
the water as it flows to the sea.
Dredging, filling, drainage, and channelization not
only disrupt the water storage and purifying capacity
of vegetated wetlands, but they also release torrents
of silt-laden, polluted fresh water directly into
shallow, productive marine waters. The sudden
change in salinity may annihilate all benthic marine
organisms and either kills or repels mobile marine
life, converting bays, estuaries, and shallow coastal
waters into a desolate, marine desert. These and
other shoreline alterations, when combined with
domestic sewage and industrial wastes from ocean
outfalls and septic tanks, can annihilate marine life
in the open ocean and cause public bathing beaches
to become so polluted they are unfit for human
That protection and preservation of coastal natural
systems makes economic "good sense" has been
dramatically demonstrated by recent history in the
Florida Keys. Haphazard and uncontrolled develop-
ment in this fragile area was rushing the island
economy headlong into becoming another Miami
Beach. Critical water shortages combined with threats
to marine resources, including the coral reefs, became
so acute that in 1975 the state declared the island
community an Area of Critical State Concern, which
prohibited further development that exceeded the
area's ability to provide essential services such as
water, flood protection, and natural resource pro-
An "economic collapse" was widely predicted
because of these restrictions. The opposite has proved
true. Single family residential construction has
recovered from the 1973 nation-wide recession to the
level of the pre-boom-and-bust cycle prior to the
critical designation, multi-unit developments are in
various stages of planning and construction, and the
Keys are enjoying a stable prosperity that promises to
continue far into the future.
The solution was found in innovative water and
energy conservation measures combined with unique
building design and construction that protects and
utilizes the natural systems of the tropical islands.
The Keys' experience has demonstrated that develop-
ment can occur in harmony with the protection of
the environment and the need to reduce hazards to
life and property.
The coastal zone also provides essential services
for certain types of commercial and economic
development. These include water-borne transporta-
tion of goods and supplies such as oil and agricultural
products (as well as for ports and harbors). Other
water-dependent activities, particularly in Florida, are
large electrical generating facilities which require
tremendous volumes of water for cooling that cannot
be supplied from inland areas due to limited fresh
water supplies. However, commercial, industrial,
recreational, public and institutional uses are often in
direct competition for limited shorefront space.
The Florida Coastal Management Program provides
a mechanism for resolving these conflicts in terms of
the long-range public interest by coordinating the
multitude of existing laws into a comprehensive plan
with clear-cut objectives and guidelines that establish
ground rules under which a multiplicity of govern-
mental agencies will operate.
EXISTING LAWS & REGULATORY AGENCIES.
In order to meet federal requirements, the Florida
CMP utilizes existing legislation that was either
already on the books at the time the federal Act was
passed or has been enacted since. The program seeks
simple legislative endorsement of basic policies to
establish a common basis for governmental actions in
the coastal zone. It proposes no new regulatory pro-
The state now has laws governing air and water
pollution, dredge and fill, beach development, the
Environmental Land and Water Management Act of
1972, the Water Resources Act of 1972, the Oil
Spill Prevention and Pollution Control Act, the
Electrical Power Plant Siting Act, a safe drinking
water law, The State Comprehensive Planning Act
and the Local Government Comprehensive Planning
Act all of which are involved to some extent in the
management and protection of coastal resources. In
addition are mechanisms for the establishment or
acquisition of special use areas such as Aquatic
Preserves, State Wilderness System, the Environ-
mentally Endangered Lands program, and the State
Park System. Water management districts, regional
planning councils, and local governments are also
involved in programs affecting coastal resources. The
proposed state Coastal Management Act would
provide common policies and direction to this collec-
tion of programs.
Some program opponents and a number of state
legislators contend that since the laws already on the
books provide coastal protection there is no need for
enacting the CMP which, they argue, would only
establish another level of bureaucratic hierarchy to
further complicate matters.
Exactly the opposite is true. This is verified in a
1978 report by the New York based research organ-
ization, Inform, Inc., which states, "Florida is a state
of lofty plans and elaborate procedures but little in
the way of concrete, state-level standards .."
Chapter 17-4 of the Florida Administrative Code
has resolved some of the problems related to dredge
and fill, but the other criticisms by the Inform, Inc.,
report are still relevant.
Thus, developers, industries and businesses (includ-
ing such water dependent activities as power plants,
ports, fisheries, and recreational facilities) all now
loudly complain that state laws and regulations are
an impossible mess and that they are entangled in
such a maze of conflicting interpretations of laws and
regulations by various state and federal agencies that
nobody knows what they can and cannot do. En-
vironmental organizations are equally confused, with
the result that endless, expensive and time-consuming
confrontations are inevitable and these must often be
decided by the courts.
The Florida CMP also does not attempt to establish
a single, all-powerful state agency with dictatorial
control over coastal zone activities as some opponents
contend. It will correct the present situation by
establishing policies that are "clearly and concisely
stated to provide for consistent interpretation by
different interests and to minimize confusion to the
extent possible." These policies improve the pre-
dictability of governmental decision-making, and
increase the efficiency of administrative actions. The
state agencies now involved in the coastal zones will
continue to administer and implement activities
within their jurisdiction. The major difference, if the
CMP is enacted, is that all agencies will play the game
by the same rules instead of each player making up
his own rules while the game is in progress as is now
The Florida CMP also makes no attempt to impose
dictatorial state control over local governments in the
coastal zone. In fact, if the CMP is adopted by local
governments, they will have more control over
coastal activities in their own area than they do at
present. The Florida CMP follows the federal example
by making local participation in the state CMP
voluntary. The Local Government Comprehensive
Planning Act (LGCPA) does not mandate that local
plans conform to the state CMP. However, those
that accept the program and develop coastal zone
plans acknowledged as consistent with state pro-
gram policies by the Department of Environmental
Regulation (DER), will not only be provided with
financial, technical and legal assistance in develop-
ing and implementing their plans; approved local
plans will be under the state "consistency" pro-
visions. Local government plans will have greater
standing in state agency permit decisions.
This is a change from existing conditions which
allow certain state agencies to issue permits for some
activities without- even notifying the local govern-
ment that the permit has been issued.
Local governments with approved comprehensive
plans will also come under federal "consistency"
provisions which means that local governments will
have the opportunity to review federal actions, de-
velopment projects and licenses which affect their
jurisdiction. Their comments and reliance on local
comprehensive plans will become part of the process
in reaching state decisions on federal consistency.
Local participation is essential to the success of
the program because their plans can encompass the
small, piecemeal developments with individual
impacts that are not significant enough to warrant
state attention, but tend to "nibble resources to
death" with a combined impact that can ultimately
lead to disaster. Participation also provides better
means to address public interest at the local level.
Thus, the Florida CMP not only provides for the
preservation and protection of vital coastal resources
- it also enables developers to make investments with
greater confidence, makes local governments more
effective in managing their coastal resources, enables
state regulatory agencies to make more effective
decisions based upon their total impact on the coastal
zone rather than the narrow limits as prescribed by
existing laws, and provides an opportunity for public
participation in the decision-making by protecting
and preserving the long-term benefits of coastal
resources for future use.
The federal CZM Act requires that the public and
all levels of government be involved in the process of
developing a state program and the Florida CMP
conforms to this and other requirements.
THE FLORIDA PLAN
The Florida CMP is no "quickie" program put
together by a single state agency in order to expand
its bureaucratic empire through the use of federal
funds. The plan has been evolving since the Legis-
lature created the Coastal Coordinating Council
(CCC) in 1970 and coordination with other state
agencies has been ongoing since 1971 when each
agency involved in coastal zone activities was re-
quested to name a liaison person to participate in
coastal zone planning.
By utilizing census enumeration district lines as an
initial planning boundary, multidisciplinary studies
were conducted by the CCC. Resources and demo-
graphic patterns were mapped, analyzed, and
summarized. Important resources, hazardous areas,
potential problems for development, and areas most
suitable for development were identified. Analysis
and revision of this information continued and was
published in regional atlasses in 1975.
The Legislature abolished the Council in 1975 and
its duties were absorbed into the Department of
Natural Resources (DNR). New legislation in 1977
transferred these powers and duties to the Depart-
ment of Environmental Regulation (DER) with the
mandate that a Florida CMP be developed to comply
with the federal CZM Act.
The Federal Act requires that State CMPs must
1. Extending the boundary inland as far as necessary
to control uses which have a direct and significant
impact on coastal waters.
2. Identifying the uses to be managed.
3. Identifying the means of controlling uses.
4. Designating areas of particular concern, with guide-
lines and priorities for their use.
5. A process for designating areas for preservation or
6. A process for anticipating and managing the
impacts from energy facilities.
7. A process to identify public shorefront areas for
access or protection.
8. A process to assess the effects of erosion.
9. A description of the organizational structure for
implementation and management.
In order to meet specified federal requirements
and the requirement for agency coordination in plan
development, a formal Interagency Advisory
Committee and a Citizens State Advisory Committee
were established. Formal contracts and consultation
with Regional Planning Agencies and other key state
management agencies were entered into in order to
develop detailed information and data, and coordina-
tion was conducted with some 23 federal agencies.
Workshop drafts of a tentative plan were dis-
tributed for review and comment by industry,
agencies, specialized citizens organizations, and know-
ledgeable individuals. These comments were reviewed
and many of the suggestions were incorporated into
the final draft. Thus, the Florida CMP is truly the
product of a coordinated effort in which all govern-
mental agencies and many knowledgeable citizens
THE CMP BOUNDARY
Federal law requires that the CMP boundary must
be broad enough to include uses and activities which
have a direct and significant impact on coastal waters.
Boundaries considered ranged all the way from the
entire state (as suggested by some environmental
groups) to a narrow strip extending only 1000 yards
inland (as suggested by development interests). The
final decision on a management boundary was based
on the fact that the common element and dominant
factor affecting the coastal systems is water. This
boundary varies widely from place to place and is
detailed on coastal zone maps.
The boundary includes vital areas (most environ-
mentally important and sensitive), all hazardous
areas (especially the coastal flood plain), and reflects
the relationship between anticipated uses and their
impact on coastal waters.
.. ..... .
"Vital areas" (shaded) within the Florida coastal
zone, which is also home for 75% of the state's
Excluded federal lands (as mandated by the Act)
consist of 2.6 million acres of parks, wildlife refuges
and defense facilities.
Participating local governments may adjust state
CMP boundaries based on more detailed information
developed in local coastal zone protection elements.
The state CMP classifies resources into three
general categories: vital areas, conservation areas,
and development areas. Vital areas comprise 26% of
the coastal zone land area conservation areas 24%
and development areas 50% (these figures include
the 2.6 million acres of federal lands which are a
mixture of all three categories).
Vital Areas Include:
1. Class I Waters (surface sources of potable water),
2. Class II Waters (capable of supporting recreation
or commercial shellfish production),
3. tidal marshes and mangroves,
4. marine grass beds,
5. estuarine intertidal areas,
6. Gulf and Atlantic beaches,
7. State Wilderness Areas,
8. coastal freshwater marshes and swamps (con-
tinuous, or a continuous surface connection to
tidal waters), and
9. coral reefs.
All of these resources and areas are already covered
by state regulatory programs and many are covered
by a variety of federal regulations. Implementation,
however, is now the result of vague agency regula-
tions which are interpreted by individuals in the
various agencies and are subject to influence by
political and private pressures.
Because the benefits provided by vital areas are
absolutely essential to the economy of Florida and
to the welfare and safety of its citizens, and because
vital areas cannot be developed without so altering
the resource that the benefits are lost or significantly
diminished if the CMP is adopted by legislative and
administrative action it will be the stated policy of
Florida to protect, preserve and where possible,
restore the chemical, physical and biological integrity
of vital areas so as to insure or enhance biological
productivity, fish and wildlife habitat, recreational
opportunities and public health, safety and welfare.
Implementation under the CMP is designed to
restrict or prohibit development activities in vital
areas that will adversely affect or destroy the func-
tioning of natural systems. Governmental agencies
will be required to review their rules and practises to
ensure that exceptions or variances show a clear and
unequivocable justification based on a demonstration
of an overwhelming public benefit rather than private
benefits to individuals or commercial interests. This
will require changes in some state agency regulations.
For example, as proposed, the DER would adopt
rules to prohibit all dredging in vital areas except to
maintain existing facilities. Exceptions as provided
for, however, site alterations must be temporary. For
example, if an oil company can demonstrate that it is
absolutely necessary to lay pipelines across a vital
area instead of utilizing a development or conserva-
tion area, this can be permitted. The area must be
returned to its original elevation and condition after
the work is completed.
The DNR will also be required to examine its rules
regarding changes in its regulations on variances
which violate the coastal setback lines established by
state and local governments. The criteria adopted by
DNR must make the public need for the protection
of, and access to, beaches and other coastal areas the
first priority. Variances must show a clear and un-
equivocable justification in the public interest based
on facts and engineering data.
Water Management Districts will be required to
maintain seasonal fluctuations, delivery schedules,
and sufficient quantities of fresh water inflows into
estuarine waters to maintain and enhance estuarine
These are areas which are less susceptible to
damage from alterations, but due to benefits from
natural resources or hazards to life and property, they
require special precautions.
Conservation areas include:
1. Class III Waters (recreational),
2. spoil islands,
3. coastal and riverine floodplains,
4. interior freshwater marshes and swamps (seldom
or intermittently connected to coastal waters),
5. forestry and wildlife management areas, and
6. parks and recreation areas.
State policy under the CMP will require all govern-
mental agencies to provide and encourage uses in
conservation areas which result in low impact on re-
sources and minimize hazards to life and property.
Since these are flood-prone areas, open space recrea-
tion and uses which do not lead to dense habitation
are encouraged. Non-structural solutions to flood
control and shoreline erosion are given priority, and
the Division of Disaster Preparedness will be required
to review its rules and regulations regarding plans for
transportation and other facilities for disaster pre-
vention, response, and recovery.
This is an important provision. At present, highway
planning by the Department of Transportation is
largely influenced by the narrow confines of traffic
engineering with less regard for environmental or
other considerations. Not only do roads and highways
create permanent and serious impacts on the
functioning of natural systems, in Florida they are
the only means of escape from coastal areas when
threatened by hurricane tides. Yet most major
Florida highways run parallel to the coast and in
many places are at low elevations that will be flooded
by torrential rains that usually precede hurricanes.
Escape routes from congested low lying coastal areas,
particularly barrier islands, are inadequate.
Detailed plans for implementation of the CMP in
conservation areas covering design, construction
landscape, and similar criteria are left to local govern-
ment planning, zoning, and building codes. Approved
local CMPs will have the force of law.
These are all coastal zone areas not included in
vital or conservation areas and include:
1. Class IV Waters (agricultural or industrial
2. Class V Waters (suitable for navigation or in-
3. undeveloped lands suitable for intensive de-
4. undeveloped lands suitable for development if
limitations are corrected,
5. presently developed lands,
6. prime agricultural lands, and
7. prime agricultural lands with other potential
State policy will be to encourage development in
these areas in preference to other coastal zone areas.
Even in these areas, however, development must be
cosistent with resource tolerance and with the
ability of local governments to efficiently provide the
necessary services. For example, the ability to provide
an adequate supply of potable water in chronic or
potential water shortage areas could be a limiting
The CMP admits that additional studies are needed
in conjunction with regional planning councils and
local governments to provide detailed information
regarding impacts on coastal resources from develop-
ments in these areas. General guidelines are spelled
out, however, such as recommending the use of
incentives to protect and maintain prime agricultural
lands and forestry lands (which are being pushed into
development by high taxes), the avoidance of an
irretrievable commitment of natural resources, the
maintenance of historic, unique and scenic waterfront
uses, encouraging developments which complement
the natural landscape, recognition of regional
benefits, and the national interest in siting facilities
and uses in the coastal zone.
AREAS OF PARTICULAR STATE CONCERN.
These are areas which require special consideration
and their inventory is mandated by federal law. The
Florida CMP has designated these areas in the follow-
Georgraphic APCs are Aquatic Preserves, State
Wilderness Areas, Environmentally Endangered
Lands, and Areas of Critical State Concern. New
geographic APCs will be designated by these same
Shorefront APCs. The area extending from the
shoreline inland 100 feet is designated as a special
APC (to provide additional management in
addition to designation as a vital area).
Industrial shipments at Jacksonville.
Local APCs are to be identified in local coastal
zone protection elements through a process es-
tablished by regional planning councils and local
government and are primarily of local/regional
ADDITIONAL GEOGRAPHIC APCS
Ports, because they are important, water-
dependent facilities, will be'designated as GAPCs
after they have developed long-term development and
management plans which are acknowledged by DER
as consistent with the Florida CMP. This does not
permit unlimited dredging and filling but will pro-
tect ports from encroachment by non-compatible
Power Plant Sites. These plants require large
volumes of water for cooling which is generally not
available from inland fresh water areas. They also
present potential major damage to coastal eco-
systems and siting for these activities must be care-
Power plant sites that are identified in the Ten
Year Sites Plans as "preferred sites" will be desig-
nated as GAPCs provided certification is obtained -
and after the land is either purchased, under option,
or under condemnation proceedings or if a decision
has been made to site the plant offshore.
Other Energy Facilities. All energy facilities, such
as nuclear fuel processing, refineries, oil and gas
exploration, tank farms, transmission lines, pipelines,
solar, geothermal, and other water-dependent energy
facilities are subject to the CMP through existing
Florida laws, and through federal "consistency"
provisions and will be required to abide by the policy
of protecting and preserving vital coastal resources
to the maximum extent possible. The use of develop-
ment or conservation areas is encouraged in prefer-
ence to vital areas, the use of which is discouraged.
Significant Natural, Recreational, Scientific or
Historical Areas. Among those areas specifically cited
with recommendations for implementation to
regional planning councils and local governments are
A. Barrier Islands and Beaches are given special
attention because of their resistance to stabilization
attempts, high life and property hazards, hurricanes,
fragile potable water resources, high susceptibility to
groundwater pollution, and similar fragility. The CMP
recommends that undeveloped islands be maintained
in their natural state with only low impact recreation-
al facilities provided.
B. Unique Environmental Features were identified
on the 1975 Regional Atlasses and others may be
identified by local coastal zone protection elements.
Examples are artificial reefs, sinkholes, springs, and
C. Critical Habitat for Endangered Species as pro-
vided by the Federal Endangered Species Act are
identified on CMP maps, and other protection is pro-
vided by vital areas and local coastal zone plans.
Local CMPs should develop additional areas.
D. Historical and Archaeological Sites are also
depicted on 1975 atlasses from information supplied
by the Division of Archives and History. Other areas
may be designated in local plans.
AREAS FOR PRESERVATION
These are special GAPCs and the identification of
areas for restoration will depend heavily on resource
specialists associated with coastal planning, other
state agencies, and universities. Local governments
and regional planning councils can also recommend
areas for restoration.
Existing programs are beach nourishment under
the Beach and Shore Preservation Act under DNR.
Also, water areas identified for restoration by the
Pollution Recovery Trust Fund and by the Water
Restoration and Preservation Trust Fund, both of
which are administered by DER.
These programs have not been fully developed, but
the CMP plans no restoration of developed areas to
their natural state. Most will be focused on restoring
undeveloped but damaged resources to a more natural
The Florida CMP presented to the Legislature is by
no means a perfect instrument that will guarantee
complete protection for the state's fragile and
essential coastal resources. A number of critical
environmental and resource conservation problems
have not been specifically addressed, and these
omissions have been criticized by some environmental
PROBLEMS NOT SPECIFICALLY ADDRESSED.
Coastal areas in much of the state are suffering
from chronic water shortages and these shortages are
already critical in South Florida. The solution to
water shortages and water distribution problems can
be in the nature of water conservation measures
similar to those developed in the Keys after they were
declared an Area of Critical State Concern or they
can depend upon expensive, energy-intensive water
development mechanisms such as desalinization,
interbasin transfers or similar methods. Solutions to
these problems involve inland areas far removed from
the coastal zone, are far too complex to be resolved
in a comprehensive CMP, and the final resolution will
probably be made in the political arena. Thus, the
CMP can only present general guidelines for protect-
ing coastal resources which must be followed by
water management districts and by regional and local
governmental agencies in addressing water shortage
A similar dilemma is presented by water pollution
problems in coastal areas. The CMP is focused on the
protection of coastal wetlands and estuarine areas,
but ocean and estuarine water pollution is only
covered by a general statement on improving and
maintaining water quality. Sewage outfalls and ocean
dumping which contribute directly to ocean pollution
are not specifically addressed. Unfortunately, the
federal Environmental Protection Agency (which
controls the purse strings for funding projects for
sewage treatment and disposal) has approved ocean
outfalls as a viable method for disposal of secondary
treated sewage. Water conservation and recycling
practices, combined with the retention and control of
stormwater runoff as encouraged by Section 208 of
the Federal Water Quality Act Amendments can
provide tremendous reductions in both the demand
for potable fresh water and the volume of waste
water to be treated and discharged. Hopefully these
solutions can be incorporated through continued
studies and planning after the CMP is adopted.
These are constructive criticisms, however, and
have nothing in common with the babble of criticisms
and demands for preferential treatment leveled by a
host of private interests and governmental agencies.
THE BABBLE OF SELF-SERVING DEMANDS.
Among the comments on the workshop draft of
the CMP by the energy industries was a recurring
theme insisting that the 1976 amendments to the
federal CZMA mandated that energy facilities be
given the highest priority above all other concerns in
coastal zone management plans.
For example, an electric power consortium spokes-
man states, "The CMP should give high priority to the
siting of power plants and other energy facilities in
the coastal zone as required by the Federal Act."
The same spokesman claimed that the three
categories (vital, conservation, and development) are
"essentially artificially defined areas," and asks,
"Wouldn't it be simpler just to regulate the CZM
regulatory areas as one interrelated and coordinated
geographic area subject to a uniform set of policies
A spokesman for the Florida Petroleum Council
states, "The CMP fails to provide for adequate con-
sideration and affirmative accommodation of the
national interest involved in planning and siting of
energy facilities." (emphasis added)
The Petroleum Council representative also states,
.National and state interests should receive
priority in locating facilities in the coastal zone."
The Council spokesman contends that, "The
impacts associated with oil and gas drilling activities
are minimal ."' and demands a free hand in non-
vital areas. They also suggest that the Governor and
Cabinet (as head of DNR) make "Preeminent and
final" decisions regarding drilling operations in vital
Similar demands regarding "high priority in the
national interest" were received from other energy
industry spokesmen, which also claim that this is
mandated by the 1976 amendments to the Federal
The Act actually states, "Prior to granting approval
of a management program submitted by a coastal
state, the Secretary (Commerce) shall find that:
"The management program provides for adequate
consideration of the national interest involved in
planning for and in the siting of facilities (including
energy facilities in, or which significantly affect, such
state's coastal zone) which are necessary to meet
requirements which are other than local in nature .. .
This does not give "first priority" to energy
facilities as the energy industry claims. The highest
priority of the Federal Act is the preservation and
protection of vital coastal resources. This was not
changed by the amendments, and the energy industry
is simply objecting to requirements that their
activities give "adequate consideration" to this
The Gulf Power Corporation is more blunt in its
opposition to the CMP. It sponsored an emotional
slide show that utilizes misrepresentation and
innuendo in an attempt to discredit the CZM as un-
American. The narrator discusses vital areas while
showing development areas. Even worse, however, is
the sepulchral intonation of a voice which inquires,
"Just suppose that one day a stern voice of govern-
ment suddenly intoned:
"YOU may not build a house on your land,
because that land is subject to Coastal Zone Manage-
Comments by Gulf Power claim that the CMP will
freeze progress by prohibiting the siting of primary
energy facilities in vital areas.
Comments by other groups and governmental
agencies are equally revealing:
At a meeting of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning
Council, representatives of property owners called the
CMP the "most unpublicized, most unconstitutional
and most unbelievable" restraint on growth and
development ." (That Tampa Bay suffers from
water pollution, air pollution, and chronic water
shortages is well known. Its estuaries are critically
degraded and the area is subject to a hurricane
catastrophe all primarily due to uncontrolled
The Florida Department of Transportation claims
the CMP is negative because it puts them in an
adversary position and that their long-range planning
becomes merely an exercise in futility. The DOT
contends, ". that the benefits to be gained from
the proposed Coastal Management Program do not
equal or exceed the expected increased costs to the
people of Florida."
The Department of Health and Rehabilitative
Services comments ". we urge that dredge and fill
by governmental agencies in the public interest be
exempted from this requirement (restoring dredged
sections in vital areas). The HRS insists that impound-
ments created by dredging are essential for mosquito
control, insists no alternative methods are available,
and warns of dire consequences from disease if their
methods are curtailed.
It is interesting that California recently has been
successful in mosquito control by aerial transport of
larvae-eating fish and finds that it is less expensive
than impoundments. Florida's HRS shows no inclina-
tion to try this method of control or to realistically
address alternative methods which might lessen the
adverse impact of mosquito control practises.
Even Federal agencies seek exemption. The Corps
of Engineers comments state, "The national interest
Collapsed seawall and a Jacksonville Beach home
threatened by northeast storm, 1962.
in waterborne transportation in the Florida Coastal
Zone has been established by the authorization of
over 90 Federal navigation projects that include
all major Florida ports and numerous inlets and
passes and in excess of 2,600 miles of navigation
channels." The Corps requests specific exemption of
existing authorized Federal navigation projects from
Maintenance dredging is permitted, but even the
Corps must abide by Federal consistency provisions
"to the maximum extent possible."
These and other objections to the CMP reveal that
certain special interests and agencies are fearful of a
program that establishes ground rules that give the
long-term public interest priority over short-term,
narrow special interests.
Photos on pages 1, 3, 4, and 9 have been
generously provided by Florida News Bureau,
Department of Commerce.
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