Title: Group D - Resource Management: Coastal Areas
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00004248/00001
 Material Information
Title: Group D - Resource Management: Coastal Areas
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Jake Varn Collection - Group D - Resource Management: Coastal Areas (JDV Box 89)
General Note: Box 19, Folder 1 ( Growth Management Conference - 1983 ), Item 10
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00004248
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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Discussion Group Leader:

Mr. George Sheldon

Discussion Group Recorders:

Ms. Caroline Chambliss

Mr. David Hawley

Mr. Jeff Andrews

Ms. Alison Fahrer

Mr. Norman Fritz

Dr. Elton Gissendanner

Mr. Alan Gold

Mr. and Mrs. Howard Goodman

Senator Mary Grizzle

Honorable Bill Gunter

Mr. John Hankinson

Senator Kenneth Jenne

Rep. Bob Johnson

Mr. Floyd Johnson

Mr. Charles Lee

Rep. Anne Mackenzie

Mr. Art Marshall

Mr. George McGough















Dr. Lenore McCullagh

Mr. Harvey Miller

Ms. Julie Morris

Mr. Bill Partington

Rep. R. Dale Patchett

Mr. Paul Piller

Ms. Carol Roberts

Mr. William J. Roberts

Mr. Bill Sadowski

Ms. Eve Savage

Mr. George Sheldon

Mr. Gerald Ward

Mr. George Weeks

Mr. Don Wilson


















By Mr. James W. MacFarland

OcL.. -r, 1983

Estuaries are one of nature's miracles. In their natural

state, they support abundant fish and wildlife, provide

transportation corridors, increase real estate value for adjacent

uplands, act as storm buffers, provide a natural filtration

system for pollutants, and much, much more. However, in our

rapidly urbanizing State, estuarine ecosystems are losing the

ability to provide all these values. Comprehensive protection

programs are necessary to assure that urban development does not

degrade Florida's estuaries, and that estuaries receive an

adequate, unpolluted freshwater supply.

Florida's greatest estuary, the Everglades coastal area,

is "dying" due to impeded water flow--too much, then too little,

and vice versa; Rookery Bay was on its way to becoming the Venice

of Florida; and Apalachicola Bay must be closed to shellfish

harvesting at times due to pollutants from upstream. One of the

serious effects of the disrupted Everglades estuarine system is a

ninety percent reduction in the wading bird population over the

last seventy years. These wading birds are estuarine dependent

in that they feed in areas where salt water and freshwater have

mixed. In addition, the shrimping in Florida Bay has seriously

declined because the salinity levels have increased due to

diversion of fresh water from the Everglades to other areas.

The continued degradation of estuaries is assured under

current growth projections for the State. Florida need not

reinvent the wheel to discover what happens to estuaries that are

subject to unbridled development. In southern California,

another growth state, there are few estuaries left to preserve; a

major environmental victory is the restoration of 100 acres of

degraded marsh. San Francisco Bay was, at one time, a major

fishery resource and a major stopover for ducks and geese on the

Pacific flyway. No more, the productive Bay marshes have been

filled and few self-respecting fish or ducks now congregate in

the area.

We are beginning to recognize that estuarine systems are

quite complex, interrelated systems, and warrant a comprehensive

planning effort. Although they exist and function at the

interface of land and water systems, water is the lifeline of an


Just recently, Governor Graham announced a comprehensive

program to "Save Our Everglades" that includes:

1. dechannelization of the Kissimmee River,

2. restoration and consolidation of the Holey Land and

Rotenberger tracts to the Everglades habitat,


3. hydrological improvements to Alligator Alley and

Tamiami Trail,

4. restoration of the natural water flow to Everglades

National Park,

5. acquisition of the 50,000 acre Aerojet property,

6. continuing acquisition in Big Cypress National

Preserve and the Fakahatchee Strand, and

7. establishment of resource planning and management

committees for the east Everglades and Kissimmee

River Basin.

The objectives of this program are to avoid further degradation

of the Kissimmee/Okeechobee/Everglades ecosystem and to

reestablish the natural ecological functions of these systems to

closely proximate the way they were in the early 1900s.

I would like to give some examples where public,

legislative, or executive involvement have made a difference. In

California, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development

Commission was created in the early 1960s to address the myriad

of problems that faced the Bay and its watershed. The issue was

critical since over eighty percent of the Bay's marshes had been

filled. The Commission was given broad regulatory authority to

protect the Bay's resources and promote development that was

compatible with the natural functions of the Bay.


In Gray's Harbor, Washington, development interests

(particularly the Port Commission) and environmentalists were

constantly waging battle over expansion of the port and

consequent destruction of fish and wildlife habitat. Under the

the sponsorship of the Washington Department of Ecology and the

Federal Office of Coastal Zone Management, a process was

initiated whereby the Port Authority, state resource/regulatory

agencies, and environmental organizations would agree on a fifty-

year plan that would define areas suitable for development and

those to be preserved. After five years of study and

negotiation, a plan was developed that will ideally eliminate the

costly battles that occurred every time a development was


One of Florida's earliest efforts in protecting valuable

estuarine resources was with Rookery Bay in Collier County. In

1963, the citizens of the county organized the non-profit Collier

County Conservancy and, in cooperation with the Nature

Conservancy, bought 5,000 acres to create the Rookery Bay

Wildlife Sanctuary. They started a program of involvement in

governmental decision-making processes to insure the

implementation of a county program of development control that

would be effective in protecting the estuarine corridor. In

1967, the Conservation Foundation Demonstration Planning Study

concentrated on the Ten Thousand Island/Rookery Bay System, and

outlined goals for protection of the estuarine resources. The

efforts of the Collier County Conservancy have resulted in the


establishment of several nature centers in the County and the

environmental education of thousands of school children.

The Apalachicola River has the greatest flow of any

Florida river and is the main stem of the largest and longest

river system in the southeastern United States. The river links

the freshwater swamps and uplands of a 2400 square mile drainage

basin in Florida with the coastal lowlands in brackish

Apalachicola Bay adjoining the Gulf of Mexico. This system

consists of uplands, freshwater swamps, coastal lowlands and one

of the nation's most productive estuaries. In 1970, the Governor

and Cabinet designated the Apalachicola Bay as an aquatic

preserve. However, this designation relied only on existing

state regulations to protect the Bay itself and provided no

protective measures for the critical marsh areas or the central

functions of the river-bay ecosystem.

In early 1977, local and state efforts were underway to

determine whether the Apalachicola River and Bay System would

qualify as a National Estuarine Sanctuary. This proposal and its

impacts on navigation generated high-level interest in the states

of Alabama and Georgia and resulted in an unprecedented meeting

between the governors of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. One of

the major concerns was the difficulty in performing maintenance

dredging in the Apalachicola River and the length of time that it

took for granting permits. Almost a year of research and

negotiation between local governments, state agencies, and the

federal government resulted in an innovative spoil disposal plan

to which all parties agreed.

In addition, Florida resource agencies were well aware of

the fact that the Apalachicola River and Bay System/ecosystem

depended on rainwater and flowage of fresh water from Alabama and

Georgia (Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers). To plan for this

system, a decision-making, management board for the National

Estuarine Sanctuary was established that consists of three local

representatives and three representatives from state agencies.

This wholistic view of the system has worked quite well, and, in

fact, recently culminated in a landmark agreement by the states

of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and the U. S. Army Corps of

Engineers to develop a water management plan for the Flint,

Chattahoochee, and Apalachicola River systems.

The last example is the California Coastal Conservancy

(CCC), a part of the State of California Resources Agency. The

CCC has several program areas:


This program helps establish economically feasible land

use restoration plans among conflicting users of the coast. It

coordinates the use of non-profit organizations in coastal

restoration projects, establishes mechanisms for management of

watersheds (thus ensuring the continued preservation of

wetlands), and creates regional plans in areas where wetlands

have suffered wholesale degradation. Project examples are:

the development of feasible land-exchange

analyses to implement the San Dieguito

Lagoon Enhancement Plan, and

preservation and enhancement of a 650 acre

farm including acquisition of development

rights on agricultural land and the

provision for public access.


This program emphasizes lot consolidation and redesigning

of unacceptable land subdivision to provide economically feasible

alternatives that conform to the Coastal Act policies. For

example, land in the Santa Monica Mountains was subdivided into

thousands of small lots--many of them in areas too steep or

unstable for development; regulation alone has not worked to

adequately control the siting of buildings. The CCC worked with

developers, landowners, and concerned citizens in promoting

acceptable development. As a result, almost fifteen percent of

the small lots in the Santa Monica Mountains have been retired

from development.


The accessway program is designed to work cooperatively

with local governments and state agencies to provide new or

improved public access to the coast. The following are methods

of accomplishing these objectives:

awarding of grants to local jurisdictions

for developments of stairways, walkways,

trails, and other access facilities;

providing local jurisdictions with signs

that point out paths to the beach.

Twenty-one grants were awarded for the development of fifty-one

new ways to reach the beach and almost a million dollars was

awarded to ten nonprofit organizations to develop cost-efficient

projects to encourage people to come to the beach for walking or



Agricultural lands are preserved through acquisition of

easements and other interests in land. For example, the CCC

assisted in the preservation of 1600 acres of grazing land on

Tomales Bay through the negotiation of a joint venture among

three contiguous ranch owners. Negotiations were successful with

a landowner owning a 7,000 acre ranch that allows compatible

development and transfers extensive beach area and redwood

forests to public ownership.


This includes fostering communication among nonprofit

groups involved in acquisition and management of resource lands.

This program is the newest addition and possibly the

Conservancy's most successful--perhaps because it depends upon

local solutions to local, as well as state, problems. For

example, the Elkhorn Slough Foundation was established in 1982

with immediate objectives of:

1. funding of a staff position to augment the exclusive

reliance on volunteers;

2. identifying and undertaking a relatively small but

significant initial project to garner public

visibility and support; and

3. enlisting members, volunteers and sources of funds.

Another example is the Big Sur Land Trust which was first

incorporated in 1978 and has to date preserved 4,275 acres of the

Big Sur coastal area at a cost of only $25 per acre. The

appraised value of these properties is approximately $2.4


There are several possible options available to assure

protection of Florida's valuable estuarine resources.


Declare support for federal legislation that provides tax

benefits for private landowners who transfer property for

conservation purposes. Senator Malcolm Wallop has introduced

Senate Bill 1675 which includes:

1. An increase in the amount an individual may deduct

from his gross income, up to fifty percent for

charitable contributions of a qualified conservation

property (any amount of excess deductions not

utilized may be carried into succeeding years until

completely used;

2. clarification of the existing law concerning

conditions under which a donation of an open-space

easement qualified for a federal tax deduction. Any

gift of an open-space easement to a government agency

is automatically considered to meet the conservation

purpose test of Section 170(h)(4);

3. a roll-over provision that permits an owner who sells

property to a state or local government or non-profit

organization for conservation purposes to shelter the

long-term capital gain realized from taxation by

purchasing another piece of investment property

within three years; and

4. an increase from sixty percent to seventy percent in

the amount of capital gain exemption from taxation

for gain realized from the sale or exchange of

property for conservation purposes.


1. Select the most important estuaries (e.g., 5-10) and

initiate a planning process that delineates the

watershed, identifies impacts, and develops an

implementation plan to conserve the estuary. The use

of Chapter 380, F. S., and the cooperation of

regional planning councils could be an alternative,

although they would have to take a more active role

in directing development to appropriate areas and

regulating development in sensitive areas.

2. Revision of the Aquatic Preserve Act, Chapter 258,

F.S., to include the ability to influence development

activities within the watershed of an aquatic

preserve. Depending on the estuary--for example,

Tampa Bay--it might be desirable to create a plan

that will guide development and preservation for a

time certain (10-50 years).

3. Increase the level of funding of the Conservation and

Recreation Lands Trust Fund (CARL). At present, $20

million annually is allocated to the Trust Fund from

such sources as severance taxes on oil, gas,

phosphates, and other minerals. There are

approximately thirty projects (value exceeds $160

million) on the CARL list and a vast majority of them

are lands that are a part of an estuarine system. An

increase in the level of funding would permit

acquisition of lands that are environmentally

valuable and predominately estuarine related.

4. Increase the level of funding for the Save Our Rivers

Program, administered by the Water Management

Districts. Many of the river projects that have been

proposed for funding flow directly into estuaries.

5. Establish regulatory bodies for estuaries that are

most important to the State for

economic/environmental reasons and whose boundaries

encompass several political jurisdictions. In

California the only way to effectively protect all of

San Francisco Bay was to create legislation, with

membership consisting of affected municipalities.

6. Establish a Florida Coastal Conservancy similar to

the California model. Examine, in particular, a

mechanism to fund, through grants or loans, the

establishment of nonprofit land trusts to assist

public resource agencies in protecting estuaries.


By Dr. Kathy Abrams

October, 1983


Florida's leading attraction is its coast: its ocean

breezes, sandy beaches and sunlit waters. People place a high

value on living near or on the water's edge. More than 75

percent of Florida's population is concentrated in our coastal

counties. As the most rapidly growing large state in the nation,

most new residents will come to live along Florida's Atlantic and

Gulf Coasts. A sizeable share of this growth has occurred on the

state's coastal barriers and islands.

Florida's coastal beaches and islands protect mainland

areas from the full brunt of major storms by providing a barrier

to ocean waves. Hence their name coastal barriers which

applies to both barrier islands and barrier beaches. These

coastal barriers are naturally designed to act as buffers to

lessen flooding, wave, and wind action on the mainland. For this

reason, they are particularly vulnerable, high risk areas subject

to strong winds, flooding and erosion during major storms.

Studies indicate that transportation links between developed Gulf

Coast islands and the mainland are incapable of allowing the safe

evacuation of existing island populations within the time

provided following National Hurricane Center warnings. In

addition to the risk of loss of life, unwise construction on

coastal islands can mean extensive property damage in the event

of a major hurricane. It is much more costly to provide public

services and infrastructure to serve development on barrier

islands than on the mainland. Reconstruction costs, including

repairs to damaged infrastructure after a major hurricane, can be


Inappropriately located development has severe impacts on

the environmental and recreational assets of Florida's barrier

islands. The clearing of natural dune vegetation and the

construction of shoreline structures has disrupted the natural

beach erosion and rebuilding process. Barrier island development

has destroyed unique Florida wildlife habitat and changed the

character of the state's coast. Urban runoff from development,

especially when areas are cleared and paved with impervious

surfaces, has harmed estuaries and fresh water marshes on coastal


The Florida Coastal Management Program recognizes coastal

barriers as an issue of special focus. Coastal barriers and

islands are areas in need of special management attention.

However, at present, state statutes and management programs are

inadequate to protect the state's interest in its coastal




More than 75 percent of the state's 10.1 million people

already live along the coast, and Florida continues to draw more

new residents annually than almost any other state in the nation.

In the years between 1980 and 1990, it is projected that 82

percent of Florida's population growth will occur in the coastal

areas, increasing to 85 percent the total population of the state

who will live along the coast. In addition, a majority of the 32

million tourists who visit the state each year spend time on the

coast, with beaching and sunbathing a major activity. Between

Florida's growing resident and tourist population, people are

placing tremendous stress on the state's unique and fragile

coastal resources and threatening the attractiveness of our

coastline as natural areas. By the year 2000, it is projected

that the Florida coastal regions will contain 10 million

permanent residents and will serve a yearly influx of several

times that many visitors.

With more barrier island acreage than any other state in

the nation, Florida's coastal resources provide a large measure

of aesthetic, environmental, and economic benefits to the state.

However, development in Florida alone accounted for almost half

of the urbanization that occurred on all U. S. coastal barriers

between 1950 and 1973. At this rate of urbanization, given our

fixed quantity of coastal resources, these most valued assets of

our natural environment and quality of life will be depleted


There is a lack of public awareness concerning the danger

to life and property in the event of a major hurricane in

Florida. Over 80 percent of the people now living on the U. S.

coast have never experienced a major hurricane, and many people

living on Florida's coastal islands do not realize that they are

living in high hazard flood zones. Hurricane evacuation has

become a task of nightmare proportions in several of Florida's

communities. Many low-lying roads, causeways, and bridges around

the state will be subject to flooding twelve hours or more before

the arrival of a hurricane. Since 1980, evacuation exercises

undertaken by the Southwest Florida and the Tampa Bay Regional

Planning Councils have demonstrated that most transportation

links between coastal islands and the mainland cannot provide for

the timely and safe evacuation of existing population levels. In

some instances, more than 30 hours warning time would be required

in order to assure safe evacuation. In the past, the National

Hurricane Center has issued its evacuation warnings no more than

twelve hours before the hurricane landfall. Unchecked population

growth on Florida's coastal islands can only exacerbate the

problem and may lead to serious casualties in the event of a

major storm.

The heavy burden of costs borne by local and state

governments to provide bridges, causeways, roads, sewerage, and

I _

other infrastructure needs of barrier island developments is

increasing significantly at the same time as federal government

budgets for these purposes are cut. It costs two to six times

more to provide these services and facilities on barrier islands

than on the mainland, according to the Barrier Island Coalition.

Unwise construction on coastal barriers only increases the

potential for property damage in the event of a hurricane.

Government aid in the form of disaster relief, home and business

loans, and state and local expenditures to repair damaged

infrastructure encourage resettlement and rebuilding in the same

high hazard coastal areas.

Reconstruction costs after a major hurricane can be

enormous. A relatively minor storm which hit Florida's southwest

Gulf Coast in June of 1982 caused $15.6 million worth of damage.

Eighty-four percent of this damage was covered through private

and federal insurance claims. The remaining 16 percent was

covered through disaster relief funds of which $1.3 million was

state, $100,000 was local, and the remainder was federal costs.

These figures do not include state and local administrative and

emergency expenses, only direct disaster relief and damage

repairs. When Hurricane Frederick hit the Alabama coast in 1979,

over $2 billion of disaster relief funds were paid. The Tampa

Bay Regional Planning Council completed a hurricane loss study in

March, 1983, which projected that the total losses for a four

county area in the event of a hurricane would range from $2.5

billion to $5 billion depending on the severity of the storm.

High density subdivisions, condominiums, and hotel

developments on coastal islands are common in Florida. Local

construction standards in building codes, appropriate for

mainland development, do not generally take into account the

special vulnerability of coastal islands to wind and wave action

during storms, flooding and erosion. Furthermore, such natural

forces acting on conventional manmade structures make

construction on coastal islands risky. Certain construction

practices can destroy natural dune vegetation and wildlife

habitat, and harm tidal and freshwater marshes through urban

runoff caused by clearing and paving. The demand for public

access, both physical and visual, to coastal beaches is

increasing at the same time that private development on coastal

barriers is locking up beachfront property.

Erosion of beaches is a natural phenomenon which has been

exacerbated by man's development of barrier islands. Erosion

threatens the stability of existing shoreline development.

Attempts to stabilize the shoreline with structural barriers are

expensive, offer only temporary solutions, and may interfere with

natural beach renourishment processes, and thereby further

exacerbate erosion. Beach renourishment, which can cost $1

million or more per square mile, must be repeated within three to

five years and is a very costly shoreline stabilization process.

With federal subsidization of beach renourishment projects

waning, the ability of state and local governments to pay for

these projects is questionable. Further shoreline construction

on our undeveloped barrier islands must take into consideration

the risks of erosion and the increasing costs of shoreline


The state of Florida has an interest in protecting its

coastal resources, including its barrier beaches and barrier

islands. Yet, the state does not have a comprehensive state

policy for barrier islands. State statutes and management

programs are fragmented, and significant gaps exist in state

authorities related to coastal barrier protection and

development. The lack of an integrated state barrier island

policy results in conflicting goals between state programs. For

instance, while disaster preparedness officials are concerned

about high-density development of barrier islands because of

hurricane evacuation difficulties, the actions of other state

officials have encouraged barrier island development by providing

funds for bridges, causeways and sewage treatment plants on

barrier islands. This lack of coordinated state policy also

frustrates the efforts of local government and private enterprise

to manage future development of barrier islands. They cannot

plan their efforts to complement state efforts. Although

Governor Graham issued Executive Order 81-105 in 1981 which

requires that state funds not be used to subsidize growth in

hazardous coastal barrier areas, the legal defensibility of an

executive order as the primary means of restricting state

expenditures on coastal barriers is open to question.

At the federal level, Congress has taken steps to stop

federal funding of public infrastructure to some of the nation's

coastal barriers. However, a number of Florida's coastal islands

are not classified by the Federal agencies as coastal barriers

(i.e., are not sandy material, but instead are comprised of

coquina or limestone, such as the Florida Keys). A federal

coastal barriers study committee will consider Florida's request

that excluded non-sandy islands be added to the federal coastal

barriers list. In the meantime, the federal government continues

to subsidize and encourage development on some of Florida's

barrier islands.


1. Existing state statutes and programs for protecting

coastal resources and managing development could be individually

amended in order to address the issues of barrier island

development. Specifically:

a) Chapter 23, the State Comprehensive Planning Act,

provides for the development of a state comprehensive plan with

goals, objectives and policies to guide growth. The state

coastal zone management plan is incorporated as part of the state

comprehensive plan. However, the state plan is advisory only.

Chapter 23 could be amended to provide for legislative adoption

or recognition of a state comprehensive plan to guide state,

regional and local agency policies including coastal policies for

barrier islands. Agency plans and activities could be tied to

and coordinated by the legislatively established policies.

b) Chapter 161, the Beach and Shore Preservation Act,

regulates construction, reconstruction and change of existing

structures seaward of the coastal construction control line, and

in some areas, seaward of the toe of the dune system, according

to a 1983 amendment to Chapter 161. However, state regulations

and standards do not apply to any portion of coastal barriers

located landward of the control line or to any coastal islands

composed of non-sand material. The jurisdiction of Chapter 161

could be expanded to include all barrier islands or to require

state permits for any construction activity in the coastal high

hazard flood zones of barrier islands.

c) Chapter 163, the Local Government Comprehensive

Planning Act, requires all local governments in the coastal zone

to prepare and adopt coastal zone elements as part of the local

comprehensive plans. The Act further provides for state and

other government agency review and comment on proposed local

comprehensive plans, but does not require state approval. Chapter

163 could be amended to require state approval of local

comprehensive plans, including the coastal zone protection

elements which could address barrier island and erosion issues,

subject to minimum standards for statewide development and

resource protection.

d) Chapter 380, Part I, under the Developments of

Regional Impact (DRI) provisions, requires regional and local

assessments of developments with multi-county impacts. However,

many coastal island developments by virtue of size or character,

e.g., hotels, have been exempt from DRI review. The numerical

threshold for developments proposed for coastal barriers could be

lowered and the list of types of development now exempt from DRI

review could be revised to allow for comprehensive regional

reviews of coastal developments.

e) Chapter 380, Part I, under its Areas of Critical

State Concern (ACSC) provisions, allows for the study and

designation of areas of critical state concern throughout the

state. Resource Planning and Management Committees bring

together state, regional, and local representatives to study

growth management problems and develop voluntary resource

management plans. Where these plans and regulations are

inadequate to protect the state's interest in the resources,

formal state critical area designation with state standards and

guidelines can be imposed. Hutchinson Island represents the

first time that the ACSC provisions have been applied to an

individual barrier through the creation of a resource planning

and management committee. The Committee approach could be used

to manage other coastal islands with special problems and

particular vulnerability.


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