Contact: Gary Appelson
Phone: (325) 373-6441
Gainesville, Florida – This week, Florida policymakers, resource managers, conservation groups and others were sent copies of the new documentary film, “Higher Ground: The Battle to Save Florida’s Beaches.” Produced by the world’s oldest sea turtle conservation group, Caribbean Conservation Corp. and its filming partner CAVU, the film was created to draw attention and generate public debate about the complex issues affecting the health and sustainability of Florida’s beaches.
Higher Ground is being released at a pivotal time in the history of coastal management in Florida. Capitalizing on growing public concern with beach protection policies and renewed interest in coastal policy reform, the film’s goal is to encourage a public discourse that will lead to creative new policies for managing and protecting the state’s vulnerable coastline for people and wildlife.
Of the 829 miles of sandy beaches in Florida, almost half (46 percent) are categorized by the state as “critically eroding.” The root causes are poorly-sited coastal development; inadequate coastal construction setback policies; navigation inlets; sea wall construction; stronger and more frequent erosion-causing storms; and slow-rising sea levels.
As private properties along the coast are threatened by erosion, panicked beachfront residents and resource managers are looking for relief through costly, repetitive beach nourishment projects and the construction of unsightly and harmful sea walls. Meanwhile, state and federal subsidies continue to encourage shoreline development by providing low cost insurance for the riskiest beachfront developments—all at taxpayers’ expense.
This combination of factors threatens the future of Florida’s beaches and coastal ecosystems. Caught in the middle are threatened and endangered sea turtles that nest on Florida beaches, home to 90 percent of all sea turtle nesting in the United States. To watch Higher Ground online and learn more about the threats facing Florida beaches, visit /higherground.
Caribbean Conservation Corporation is a science-based nonprofit organization that studies and protects sea turtles. CAVU (Clean Air, Visibility Unlimited) is an award-winning environmental filmmaker that uses aerial photography to present unique perspectives on conservation issues. CCC and CAVU are using the film to highlight the complex issues threatening Florida’s beaches, while calling for progressive policies to ensure the long-term protection of the beach and dune system.