6B.4 Policy response to erosion through construction permitting near the Apalachicola National Estuarine Reserve

Saturday, 14 November 2009: 9:45 AM
Ariana J. Marshall, Environmental Cooperative Science Center, Tallahassee, FL; and L. Robinson Ph.D

Sandy beach shoreline in 50% Florida counties has eroded to a critical designation of over 50%. This clear indication of the scale and significance of erosion is accompanied by the highest total number nationally of beach nourishment projects. The prevalence of this erosion mitigation is accompanied by the state requirement of critical erosion designation for funding of these beach nourishment projects. An evaluation of coastal erosion trends and the relationship to government mitigation in Florida is warranted at this time with the added complexities of the impacts of climate change. Furthermore, the overall increasing trends in coastal population growth and development in Florida provide an opportunity to investigate the relationships among coastal development, coastal degradation and policy response.

This study does not propose to explicitly examine whether there is a causal relationship between coastal development and coastal erosion. However, it examines the relationship between factors which characterize the policy response to erosion through trends in coastal construction permitting. The study hypothesizes that trends in development have not responded to the occurrence of coastal erosion. Coastal development is represented using state governmental newly issued construction permits for habitable structures. Coastal degradation is estimated utilizing the designation of critically erosion areas. Research sites selected include the northwest Florida counties of Franklin, Gulf and Bay which are adjacent to one of Florida's most productive estuaries protected within the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. Permitting data from the period 1987-2007 was analyzed statistically to directly represent coastal land use planning and indirectly represent coastal development. Shoreline change and policy translation interpreted through subsequent critical erosion designation is then correlated with permits issued and completed. This presentation will briefly present the regulatory framework of coastal development and describe statistical and spatial correlation trends from county to county.

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