Coastal Construction Trends in Response to Coastal Erosion: An Opportunity for Adaptation

Journal of Coastal Conservation,online first, 2010

Ariana Marshall, Larry Robinson, and Marcia Allen Owens

“In Florida, more than half of the state’s sandy beach coastlines are designated as critical erosion areas by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP 2008). At the same time, the economic contribution of coastal construction is being confounded by the fiscal peril facing Florida (Bird in Ann Geomorph 57:1–9, 1985, Pew Center on the States 2009, U.S BEA 2009). It is therefore an opportune time for an evaluation of coastal erosion policy response which specifically addresses coastal construction. Furthermore in Florida, an increasing coastal population requiring the provision of structural development necessitates an improved understanding of how legislative intent which avoids the cumulative impacts of development is translated through quantified policy response. This study characterizes how coastal development trends in Florida have responded to critical erosion designation. Using spatial and temporal analysis of coastal construction permitting data from 1987 to 2007, three coastal counties in northwest Florida were selected for this study. This selection was based on proximity to the designated ecologically sensitive Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR). This study has indicated that clusters of development have not been reduced or redirected by critical erosion designation in certain areas of the study counties. Therefore this study has implications for the regulatory framework governing coastal development permitting in Florida, which is of timely relevance for sea-level rise adaptation.”