Last year's hurricanes touched nearly every coastal region of the state. Of the 855 miles of sandy coastline in Florida - 322 miles were critically eroded. Estimates put damage to the state's beaches at more than 42 million dollars. Many areas are still cleaning up. Bureau chief for the Department of Environmental Protection's beaches and coastal systems division, Michael Barnett, says his office is still engaged in weekly teleconferences with state and federal agencies.
"It's a cooperative effort to try to provide emergency restoration of several, I think there's 15 different shoreline segments that are under federal jurisdiction for shore protection. These are projects that have previously been constructed and to varying degrees suffered significant damages attributed to one of the four land falling hurricanes."
During a special session last fall, state lawmakers passed a recovery plan totaling almost $70 million for federal shore protection projects and dune restoration. Meanwhile, President Bush plans to slash federal funding for sand replenishment projects. He's requesting $46 million for "shore protection" projects in his 2006 budget -- less than half what Congress provided this year. The President wants to eliminate all federal funding for beach renourishment in Lee and Sarasota counties.
Thursday, 03 March 2005 00:00