05 • 04 • 2019
Fund Florida Water Quality Monitoring
In 2000, the Florida Legislature created the Florida Healthy Beaches Program to test coastal water quality throughout the state. The program samples for fecal coliform and enterococci bacteria, which are bacterial indicators of poor water quality. Exposure to contaminated water can lead to gastroenteritis, respiratory illness, rashes, eye and ear ailments, and more. In 2011, the Governor and Legislature cut all state funding to the Florida Healthy Beaches Program. We seek full restoration of funding for the Florida Healthy Beaches Program in 2017.
Due to a lack of state funds, the program has significantly reduced sampling frequency. The base line program sampling has decreased from weekly to bi-weekly and sampling is suspended between November and March for all counties north of Pinellas and Brevard. The program has also reduced the number of sampling locations monitored during the summer. In 2015 there were 139 advisories in Florida- imagine the numbers if we were able to adequately monitor all Florida beaches with regular frequency.
We seek full restoration of funding for the Florida Healthy Beaches Program in 2017. Click here to learn how you can take action!
UPDATE: Victory! In the 2019 Legislative Session, the Florida Legislature restored funding ($500,000) to the Florida Healthy Beaches Program! The budget has not yet been signed into law by Governor DeSantis, but Surfrider will continue to monitor and advocate for the program. Click here to view the full budget proposal.