Critically eroded from more intense and frequent hurricanes and decades of mismanagement, Florida’s beaches and coastal ecosystems of suffering. In light of severe damage following Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, the last thing that Florida’s sandy beaches need is incentive for private properties to install seawalls and hard armoring, activities we know will only accelerate erosion on adjacent properties. That’s why Surfrider’s Florida network seeks to terminate the Hurricane Restoration Reimbursement Grant Program immediately.
Surfrider is vehement in its opposition to the hard armoring of sandy beaches everywhere, particularly in light of a rapidly changing climate and impacts to our coastlines. The Hurricane Restoration Reimbursement Grant Program was created with the enactment of Senate Bill 4A during the December 2022 Special session, purportedly to address recovery from the recent hurricane season. The $50 million program provides $150,000 per eligible beachfront private property owner for ‘hurricane restoration’ projects which include sand placement and temporary or permanent coastal armoring. The program was slated to expire June 30, 2023, and despite vocal opposition from Surfrider, the program was extended through 2024 via language in the state appropriations bill.
Surfrider’s Florida network seeks to end this harmful program immediately and is advocating for its termination with key leadership in the state Senate and House of Representatives. With another climate-fueled Atlantic hurricane season upon us, it is imperative that this program is not established as precedent for coastal management, nor hurricane response for Florida. Surfrider is working to educate members of the state legislature about the harms of hard armoring to the state’s invaluable beaches to end this program as expeditiously as possible.