Florida Trend
Get FREE Business News Updates


October 3, 2015
beach nourishment

The state spent $393 million on beach renourishment over the past decade. Wider beaches create a thriving environment for marine life.

Photo: SFWMD

beach erosion

Beach erosion on Singer Island

Photo: SFWMD


Mangroves help protect the shoreline from surges.

Photo: iStockphoto

Special Report: Sea Level Rise and Florida

Impact: Beach and Shore

Lilly Rockwell | 7/8/2013

Hot Spot: Beaches

Many factors play a role in beach erosion on Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf coasts: Storms, coastal development, river dredging and dams, jetties and inlets that divert sand. But rising seas magnify the effects of the other factors. This year, more than 398 miles of beaches, or about half of the beaches in Florida, are deemed “critically eroded,” says Florida Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Dee Ann Miller.

Florida spent $393 million in matching funds on beach renourishment programs in the last 10 years to put sand back on beaches, some of which was paid for by federal funds. It’s not just an aesthetic preference. Beach renourishment is one issue environmentalists and economic developers agree on. Wide beaches are essential for marine life, such as sea turtles, and for the state’s $72-billion tourism industry. Adding sand and dunes onto beaches is also one of the best protections against sea level rise.

Just south of Tampa Bay, Anna Maria Island lost 348,000 cubic yards of sand during Tropical Storm Debby. The Army Corps of Engineers estimates it will cost $20 million to restore the beach there, with $13.6 million coming from the federal government and $6.4 million from Florida and Manatee County. The federal, state and local governments split the check for beach renourishment, though the federal government typically pays a majority of the cost.

The state plans to spend a total of $37.5 million on beach and dune restoration in Florida this year, a 72% increase from the year before. In years following major hurricanes, the budget for beach renourishment can triple or quadruple. As sea level rise accelerates, the costs will escalate, too.

An estimate put together in 2008 by the Environmental Protection Agency says the cost of replenishing Florida’s beaches after 1½ feet of sea level rise is $1.7 billion. Sea level rise of that magnitude could happen as early as 2040, though most estimates say not until closer to the end of the century.

Tags: Environment, Sea Level Rise

Digital Access

Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single digital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.


Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Everything you need to know about the flu
Everything you need to know about the flu

Give flu vaccine another chance: This year’s version got a recipe change that should make it more effective after last winter’s misery from a nasty surprise strain of virus.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

The Florida Legislature is considering allowing people with concealed weapon permits to bring their firearms on public college and university campuses. Are you in favor of allowing this, or not?

  • Yes, allow concealed weapons permit holders to bring guns to school
  • No, am opposed to this idea

See Results

Ballot Box