On September 12, 2006, STC and 7 state and national conservation organizations, announced the distribution of their ocean and coastal renewal report to Florida’s gubernatorial candidates, highlighting the opportunity for Florida to lead the nation in coastal protection. Nothing defines Florida more than its coast. Florida’s beaches, dunes, and nearshore habitats are among the most biologically rich in the world, providing habitat for a diverse array of flora and fauna. The dry beach provides habitat for animals such as crabs, gopher tortoises, indigo snakes, beach mice, migratory shorebirds and sea turtles. In fact, Florida beaches host over 90 percent of all sea turtle nesting in the U.S. Florida’s nearshore reefs, composed of coral and worm rock, provide habitat and/or act as a nursery for hundreds of marine species, including manatees and diverse communities of fish, invertebrates and algae. These coastal resources also are valuable aesthetic, recreational and economic assets that contribute to human quality of life and provide storm protection for upland communities.
But the state’s unique beaches are being threatened by pollution, unsustainable development, sea wall construction and overfishing that are leading to plummeting fish catches, outbreaks of harmful algae, dying marine life, beach closures, and degradation of turtle nesting beaches. This September 2006 issue paper (Florida’s Coastal and Ocean Future) produced by STC and 7 other conservation groups provides a blueprint for how local leaders and decision makers can — and must — take action to protect Florida’s marine and coastal ecosystems.
REPORT TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction: Responsibility for Florida’s Oceans and Coasts
Chapter 1: Curb Unwise Coastal Development and Protect Valuable Coastal Habitats
Chapter 2: Reduce Coastal and Ocean Pollution
Chapter 3: Keep Offshore Drilling Away from Florida’s Coast
Chapter 4: Restore Marine Ecosystems, Ensure Robust Fisheries, and Protect Marine Species
Chapter 5: Reduce Global Warming Pollution
Chapter 6: Strengthen Ocean Governance