Global Warming Will Boost Cost To Preserve Florida Beaches

 In Fishkind Commentaries

Florida has more miles of sandy beaches than any other state and most countries in the world.

But what’s being done to keep that economic engine from literally eroding away?

90.7 Economic Analyst Hank Fishkind spoke with 90.7’s Abe Aboraya.

How important are Florida’s beaches to the economy?

“They’re critical. Seventy-five percent of the population lives within 25 miles of the beach. And so it attracts people obviously. Seventy-five percent of our businesses, the preponderance of our real estate value. So all of that development is beach related.

How is the state dealing with the erosion of 485 miles of beaches?

“The construction control line prevents further construction on the dune system. It’s a line that actually goes around Florida, all 825 miles of coast line, and construction is not allowed to the water side of the line. It prevents further problems. But a lot of construction in Florida happened before that, so you can see in Florida where the construction is set back away from the dunes and where it isn’t.”

How much is being spent to repair those beaches?

“This year it costs $233 million to restore those programs. That’s just money spent this year. That money comes $52 million from the federal government, $75 million from Florida state government, and $105 million local governments. Obviously as sea levels rise it will be more expensive to maintain our beaches. Right now a lot of the costs come because of storm damage or inlets. So we have both man-made issues and natural issues. Storms and global warming increasing the sea levels.

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