Monday, January 31, 2011

New Report on Coastal Conservation for Florida

The National Wildlife Federation, Florida Wildlife Federation, and Sea Turtle Conservancy recently released a report titled Sea Turtle Homecoming, Class of 2010: A Proactive Coastal Conservation Agenda for Florida. It lays out a 4-part agenda to: (1) Uphold adequate funding and support, (2) Eliminate costly subsidies, (3) Enhance protection of less-developed coastal lands, and (4) Commit to meaningful strategies to combat climate change. The report describes the sea turtle species that are found around Florida and the current threats they face. The report goes into detail the 4-part agenda and describes how each can be accomplished.
At the same time this report was released, there was an announcement of a settlement in a federal lawsuit between the groups that released this report and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The settlement asks FEMA, which oversees the flood insurance program, to ask two other agencies, the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, that share responsibility for protecting sea turtles to scrutinize the flood insurance program. These two agencies will then have 11 months to issue a detailed "biological assessment" of any impacts. This will potentially impact Florida the most since it has the largest number of flood insurance policies compared to other states. The groups from this report state they want FEMA to stop issuing new policies, particularly those in flood-prone areas, but not eliminate flood insurance from areas heavily developed such as Miami Beach or Fort Lauderdale. They also want to end policy renewals for coastal structures heavily damaged by storms or erosion. They say the settlement is one step in protecting sea turtle species that face growing threats from development, pollution, fish gear, and others. To read the full press release from the Miami Herald visit