As a founding member of the Florida Coastal and Ocean Coalition, Sea Turtle Conservancy partnered with the other members of the coalition to produce Florida’s Coastal and Ocean Future: an Updated Blueprint for Economic and Environmental Leadership (Blueprint). Released on January 4, the Blueprint discusses major issues affecting Florida’s coastal and marine environment and provides more than 30 recommendations to address these issues. The Blueprint provides a road map for the public and for policy makers on habitat and environmental protection and stresses the linkage between resource protection and the state’s coastal economy, recreation, and quality of life.
While the Blueprint does not specifically focus on sea turtles, many of the chapters address the protection of resources essential to the recovery and protection of Florida’s threatened and endangered sea turtles. Sea turtles are a keystone species integrally linked to the structure and resiliency of their environment. Like canaries in the coal mines, sea turtles are an indicator species of the health of the myriad environments they rely upon for foraging, nesting, and refuge. As such they stand to benefit from many of the Blueprint’s recommendations.
The Blueprint also discusses the BP oil spill disaster, the Oil Spill Commission’s Final Report, and the Natural Resources Damage Assessment Process. It recommends policies to help guide the long-term restoration of the Gulf of Mexico. The chapter on shoreline protection contains specific recommendations for reforming the state’s coastal construction policies, revising beach management policies to incorporate sea level rise, and reducing government subsidies that encourage high-risk shoreline development adjacent to the beach.
The report calls on Florida’s Governor, Cabinet, Legislature and State Agencies for action and leadership to achieve the goal of healthy ocean and coastal ecosystems. Download a PDF version of the Blueprint.