State of the Beach/State Reports/FL/Beach Description
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The beaches of Florida are all on barrier islands or former barrier islands that have migrated onto the mainland. Hurricanes are relatively frequent occurrences, significantly affecting the shape of the coastline. The 825 miles of sandy coastline fronting the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Straits of Florida are one of Florida's most valuable natural resources. Florida's beaches are deserving of this status because they serve several important functions, each being vital to maintaining the health of Florida's economy and environment.
- Fact 1: Miles of Coast: 8,436
- Fact 2: 1,266 miles of open ocean coastline
- 825 miles of sandy beaches fronting the ocean
- Fact 3: Coastal Population (2010): 14,194,603
- Fact 4: 75% of the state's population lives within coastal counties The entire population is less than 80 miles from the shore.
Contact Info for the Lead Coastal Zone Management Agency
Florida Coastal Management Program
Office of Intergovernmental Programs
Department of Environmental Protection
3900 Commonwealth Blvd. MS 47
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3000
Phone: (850) 245-2161 or (850) 245-2163
Fax: (850) 245-2189
Coastal Zone Management Program
Floridians are fortunate to have our nation's second largest coast, some 8,400 miles of tidally influenced shoreline. Along these shores are many valuable resources in need of protection, including broad coastal wetlands, vast estuaries, and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Working with local governments, the Florida Coastal Management Program is the entity tasked with identifying methods for protecting these valuable coastal resources. Tourism and agriculture are key coastal industries in Florida.
The Florida Coastal Program, approved by NOAA in 1981, is comprised of a network of eight state agencies and five water management districts, together enforcing 23 separate statutes. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection serves as the lead agency. The Florida coastal zone is the entire state but the coastal zone is divided into two tiers. Only coastal cities and counties which include or are contiguous to state water bodies are eligible to receive coastal management funds.
The Coastal Program works to protect coastal resources and help Floridians build and maintain vital communities. Through the Coastal Partnership Initiative, the Coastal Program provides support for enhancing coastal access, promoting stewardship, protecting remarkable coastal places, and revitalizing working waterfronts. Waterfronts Florida, a program initiated in 1997 by the Coastal Program, provides support, training, innovative technical assistance, and limited financial assistance to communities striving to revitalize and renew interest in their waterfront district, areas which have a tradition of water-dependent vitality.
NOAA's latest evaluation of Florida's Coastal Management Program can be found here.
- Bernd-Cohen, T. and M. Gordon. "State Coastal Program Effectiveness in Protecting Natural Beaches, Dunes, Bluffs, and Rock Shores." Coastal Management 27:187-217, 1999.
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