Comprehensive Beach Preservation Bill Passes In Favor of the Beach-Going Public and Coastal Wildlife

Date: November 19, 2007
Contacts: Gary Appelson, Policy Coordinator, Caribbean Conservation Corporation; (325) 373-6441
TJ Marshall, Legislative Coordinator, Surfrider Foundation; (305) 586-1961
Debbie Flack, Director of Governmental Affairs, FSBPA; (850) 510-5409

Three diverse coastal organizations find common ground and win one for the good of Florida’s beaches.

Tallahassee, Florida— The Surfrider Foundation, Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association, and the Caribbean Conservation Corporation saw success in the final days of the 2007 Florida Legislative Session, when sweeping beach management legislation benefiting beachgoers and coastal wildlife was passed unanimously by both the Florida House and Senate. The legislation now awaits almost certain signature by Governor Crist.

After months of tireless effort, coastal groups are celebrating the passage of a bill that preserve the public’s right to access the beach and protect sea turtles from harm caused by an experimental form of coastal armoring. The legislation also preserves the state’s ability to manage sandy beaches by providing for a resolution of claims by some coastal residents that public beach nourishment projects may infringe on adjacent private property rights. Another section of the bill calls for the establishment of a sand source inventory and management policy that should prevent coastal communities from competing over offshore sand sources.

“We are delighted finally to see the protection of perpendicular beach access,” said Ericka D’Avanzo, Regional Manager of the Surfrider Foundation. “Now the beach-going public can be assured that we will not see the future loss of access points.” This is accomplished through a clarification of Florida Statue Chapter 161, which will ensure perpendicular beach access is equally important as lateral access.

Gary Appelson, Policy Coordinator for the Gainesville-based Caribbean Conservation Corporation, said, “It was exciting to see so many organizations working to protect Florida’s beaches. It was also heartening to see legislators standing up unanimously for the protection of sea turtles, as well as Florida’s beach and dune system.”

“FSBPA’s coastal governments are most supportive of this legislation,” Debbie Flack, their director of BeachWatch said. “The public access and sand source management provisions clearly contribute to Florida’s nationally-recognized beach management program, and the permitting requirements for geotextile tubes provide a cautious blueprint for their selective use. However, it is the property rights/benefits offset that preserves the integrity of the state’s beach management laws. It is a balanced and fair legal tool that insures Florida will continue to repair its beaches, provide upland storm protection, while preserving the public’s right to enjoy our beaches.

This bill was championed by Senators Dennis Jones and Burt Saunders and Representative Stan Mayfield. Other key and supportive entities included the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Department of Environmental Protection and other environmental groups.

All supporting organizations and agencies look forward to the Governor’s signature on this bill.


The Sea Turtle Conservancy, formerly known as the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization based in Florida with offices and projects in several other locations. The Sea Turtle Conservancy is the oldest and most accomplished sea turtle organization in the world. Since its founding in 1959, the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s work has greatly improved the survival outlook for several species of sea turtles. The Sea Turtle Conservancy has as its mission the protection of sea turtles and the habitats upon which they depend. To achieve its mission, the Sea Turtle Conservancy uses research, habitat protection, public education, community outreach, networking and advocacy as its basic tools. These tools are applied in both international and domestic programs focusing on geographic areas that are globally important to sea turtle survival. For more information, visit the STC website or call (800) 678-7853.

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 50,000 members and over 60 chapters across the United States and Puerto Rico, with international affiliates in Australia, Europe, Japan and Brazil. For more information, visit

Since 1957, Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association has functioned as a league of coastal cities and counties dedicated to preserving, managing, and restoring the sandy beaches of Florida. In its long history, FSBPA has advocated virtually every beach-related initiative in Florida.