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Florida Coastal Management Program Hosts Inaugural Meeting

A speaker addresses the marine debris panel at the FCMP meeting.

The Inaugural Meeting of the Florida Coastal Management Program (FCMP) held May 3 - 4, 2016, in Tallahassee, Fla., brought together over 100 stakeholders from local, state and federal governments, non-governmental organizations and the public. The FCMP Annual Meeting built momentum, broadened awareness of FCMP activities and engaged stakeholders to spur routine and regular coordination on coastal issues, to offer opportunities to partners and to enhance support of Florida's coastal communities and economic, natural and historical resources.

The FCMP is a network of state agencies implementing 24 statutes that protect and enhance the state's natural, cultural and economic coastal resources. Florida's Department of Environmental Protection is responsible for directing the implementation of the statewide coastal management program.

At the meeting, stakeholders were provided an overview of the FCMP's successes during the past five years and a look into the program's goals for the next five years. FCMP initiatives discussed include: community resiliency, estuarine habitat restoration, coordinated coral and hard-bottom ecosystem mapping, monitoring and management, special area management planning, marine debris and Coastal Partnership Initiative projects. The first day of the meeting showcased successes from the five-year Coastal Zone Management Act funded projects that were coming to a close including Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's planning for community resilience guides for local governments, management planning for aquatic preserves and long-term restoration planning for Northeast Florida. The second day of the meeting opened with an overview of marine debris projects, including long-term aquaculture debris removal and the newly developing statewide marine debris reduction planning efforts. Local governments also provided lessons learned from some Cedar Cove restoration efforts done by the City of Crystal River and discussed Santa Rosa County's abilities to leverage funding to revitalize Bagdad Mill Park. The meeting ended with a look to the program's future of proposed projects and opportunities to come.

"It is in the state and national interest to protect, maintain and develop coastal resources through coordinated management, and management of the state's coastal zone requires a highly coordinated effort among state, regional and local entities," said Becky Prado, Deputy Director of the Florida Coastal Office. "More than ever, partnerships are growing around coastal issues statewide, and FCMP is at the center of these partnerships to help guide action."

Sponsors of the meeting included Coastal States Organization, Estero Bay Buddies, Friends of Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, Friends of Guana Tolomato Matanzas Reserve, Friends of Rookery Bay and the Aquatic Preserve Society.

For more information about the meeting, please visit www.dep.state.fl.us/cmp/fcmp_annual_ meeting_2016.htm. For questions about the FCMP, please contact FCMPmail@dep.state.fl.us.


Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail

scuba diver with fish and rock

Florida tourism is a $60 billion dollar industry, and heritage tourism, in particular, has become an important source of revenue for the state. In an effort to revitalize coastal tourism in Florida's Panhandle following the 2010 oil spill, the Florida Department of State's Bureau of Archaeological Research was awarded Florida Coastal Management Program funds to create the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail in Gulf waters off Pensacola, Destin, Panama City and Port St. Joe. This shipwreck trail initiative addresses the current national focus of improving communities' ability to recover from coastal disasters and promoting responsible visitation to, and management of, their valuable historical resources. Visitors and residents alike may participate on the trail through the interactive trail web page, social networking platform, and by obtaining the official trail Passport.

Creating the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail involved a multi-pronged approach consisting of conducting historical research, gathering videographic and photographic data, soliciting local community participation and collaborating on graphic design for the trail sites.

Twelve shipwrecks were selected based on input from Gulf Coast communities, dive shop owners and charter boat captains. Trail visitors are provided with an interpretation of each site related to a ship's career, date of sinking, dimensions, location, depth of water and structural features. These ship biographies are featured in both the Passport and on the webpage.

To learn more about the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail please contact Dr. Roger Smith at Roger.Smith@DOS.MyFlorida.com.

Building Coastal Stewardship at the Barrier Island Sanctuary

The Barrier Island Sanctuary (BIS) Management and Education Center, jointly operated by the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC) and Brevard County's Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, is the public focal point for Brevard's fragile barrier island habitats and the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge with its globally important sea turtle populations. The STC was awarded funds in 2010 from the Florida Coastal Management Program to carry out four main functions at the BIS:

  • Develop and implement the innovative Eco-Explorer Camp for kids. The camps enable children to experience the Indian River Lagoon in the field, and learn about dune and aquatic habitats and related wildlife.
  • Conduct Community Coastal Stewardship Workshops for residents and tourists on topics designed to promote coastal habitat stewardship. These events bring in experts to discuss how residents and visitors can live in harmony with sea turtles by managing oceanfront lighting and planting native vegetation to stabilize dunes and create coastal habitats.

  • Develop, produce and distribute "stewardship kits" to schools and learning institutions in Brevard County. The kits are designed to reach a broad range of ages and venues to further develop an understanding of, and connections to, barrier island ecology.
  • Support the 2010 and 2011 'Tour de Turtles', a popular online educational program based on the real-time satellite tracking of sea turtles nesting in Florida and the Caribbean. Three sea turtles were tagged and tracked from the BIS during the annual July launch, with numerous visitors observing the release. Interested persons in Florida and around the country can follow the annual sea turtle migration at Tour de Turtles, an interactive website spotlighting sea turtles and the threats they face.

Timucuan Trail Paddling Guide

early connections brochure page

The Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute, in partnership with the City of Jacksonville, was awarded FCMP funds of $20,250 in FY 2009-2010 to produce the Timucuan Trail Waterway Guide, a paddling guide featuring the waterways surrounding the Florida Sea Islands - small, barrier islands located between the Nassau River and the St. Johns River. These unique islands are bordered by expanses of pristine, undeveloped property and protected natural vistas, which allow paddlers to visit diverse habitats, including the sea islands, ocean, marshes and estuarine backwaters where they can experience the "real Florida".  The waterway Guide is a detailed waterproof blueways map that shows kayak landings and channel markers, and includes information on depth markings, paddle distances, parking, and ecological and historic resources. The Guide promotes the use and appreciation of the unique Florida Sea Islands, which provide critical habitat for fish, especially spawning and juvenile fish, and nesting grounds for wildlife and water birds. Dozens of rare and protected species inhabit the paddling trail, including the Atlantic sturgeon, American loggerhead, bald eagle, least tern, brown pelican, wood stork and manatees.The Timucuan Trail Waterway Guide can be downloaded free from the website.

 Archaeological Mapping, Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park

indian canoeIn Florida, coastal archaeological sites are seriously threatened by heavy winds, storms, tidal scouring, and by human forces - looting and vandalism. The Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park (CHPSP), located on Florida's southwest coast, contains more than 100 recorded archaeological sites that are at risk from these resource management challenges. In response to continual damage, Florida Department of State's Bureau of Archaeological Research systematically mapped the physical features of significant, at risk archaeological sites in the CHPSP.

Using FY 07-08 CZM funds, the CHPSP archaeological mapping project began with Sword Point (located west of the Caloosahatchee River). CZM funds in two subsequent years allowed for mapping of Pine Island II, which was recorded by Frank Cushing in the late 1800s, Glover Bight (located east of Sword Point), and Bumblebee and Penny's Mounds, located along the East Wall of Charlotte Harbor. The result of the CZM-funded mapping project is an atlas of 43 sites from the CHPSP. The atlas will facilitate land managers and law enforcement staff in monitoring and protecting the sites, assist archaeologists in reconstructing the cultural history of the region and serve scientists in assessing shoreline erosion and inventorying natural communities. For more information on the CHPSP mapping project, please contact Mary Glowacki, Bureau of Archaeological Research at (850) 245-6319.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

early connections brochure page The Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, located in Palm Beach County, is a significant historical site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Loxahatchee River Historical Society (LRHS), which was formed to preserve and interpret the area's regional heritage, and the Town of Jupiter, have developed an extensive collection of artifacts, photographs and oral histories to bring to life the dynamic people, places and events that have characterized this site and the surrounding region for over 5,000 years. The Florida Coastal Management Program awarded grant funds to the LRHS to develop new educational exhibits, murals and signs for the 1980 Lighthouse and adjacent Oil House. The LRHS also acquired rare artifacts to display (on loan from the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the Florida Museum of Natural History and the State of Florida). For more information regarding the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, send an email to LRHS staff at visit.jupiterlighthouse.org or call (561)747-8380.


Barrier Island Ecosystem Center Old A1A Boardwalk

wooden boardwalkThe Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program was awarded FCMP funds to construct a 500' wooden boardwalk that connects the Barrier Island Ecosystem Center (BIEC) to the public beach at Bonsteel Park. The boardwalk is also situated in the footprint of the historic Old A1A access road. The BIEC serves as an EEL Education Center within the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge interpretive signage along the boardwalk highlights the importance of barrier island species, their habitats, restoration efforts, and management practices used to preserve the resources and history of the old A1A road. The boardwalk also completes a mile education loop trail that takes visitors through restored maritime hammock and mangrove swamp communities, with views of the Indian River Lagoon, the dunes and the Atlantic Ocean.


Lignumvitae Key Submerged Lands Restoration Plan

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Recreation & Parks was awarded a FCMP state agency subgrant, for FY 2004-2005, to develop a restoration plan for the Lignumvitae Key Submerged Lands Management Area (LKMA).  The LKMA is located in Islamorada, Monroe County, and encompasses submerged lands of the Lignumvitae Key Botanical State Park and Lignumvitae Aquatic Preserve.  FCMP funded activities involved identification of restoration sites, including seagrass and hardbottom damage areas, and prioritization of areas to be restored.  Specific grant tasks were channel marking, aerial photography, limited-motor zoning, and development of management and GIS systems for easy update, analysis and retrieval of information.  Project work was coordinated with, and complements the efforts of, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in which the LKMA is located.  At the end of the project, 81 sites were individually analyzed, ranked and mapped. As a result of the plan there restoration activities in the management area have advanced. Other programs benefited by this subgrant include Florida's Aquatic Preserves.

Aerial of management area with severe vessel scars

9/3/07 - 1733 Spanish Plate Fleet Interpretation and National Register Nomination

In 1733, thirteen ships of the Spanish Plate Fleet were sunk along 80 miles of the Florida Keys during a hurricane. These shipwreck sites represent some of the oldest artificial reefs in North America, supporting complex marine life.  To preserve this significant coastal resource, the Florida Department of State, Bureau of Archaeological Research applied for a FCMP state agency subgrant for FY 2004-2005, to explore, document and assess the sunken vessels in order to form the foundation for a multiple property nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.  FCMP funds supported the design and printing of an interpretive guide booklet and web site development. The nomination was successful, and the National Park Service listed the 1733 Spanish Plate Fleet in the National Register in June 2006.  Other programs benefited by this subgrant include Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Biscayne National Park, Florida Park Service and National Register of Historic Places.

Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans: Spanish Treasure Fleets of 1715 and 1733


spade fish

Historic Shipwreck poster

1733 Spanish Galleon Trail poster

6/4/07 - Matanzas Pass Preserve Canopy & Native Plant Restoration

The Matanzas Pass Preserve is a 56-acre maritime forest on Estero Island that provides unique habitat for many species of wildlife, some of which are endangered or threatened. From the time the Preserve was donated to Lee County in 1995, the Friends of the Preserve, a non-profit organization, has helped protect and preserve its natural habitat. Towards this goal, the Friends, Lee County and the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program joined as partners to re-establish the canopy and native plant community and encourage stewardship of the Matanzas Pass Preserve.  Specifically, the project partners [Lee County, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program and Friends of Matanzas Pass Preserve] applied for a FCMP Coastal Partnership Initiative subgrant, for FY 2004-2005, to revegetate 18 acres with native trees including gumbo limbo, green buttonwood and strangler fig, and plant over 400 shrubs, such as marlberry, wild coffee and southern wax myrtle. A video documentary about the Preserve and its importance to the areas ecosystem was also produced with FCMP support. Other programs benefited by this subgrant include Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve and Estero Bay Preserve State Park.

Site prior to exotic removal
Site prior to exotic removal

Volunteers removing exotics
Volunteers removing exotics

Pos restoration results
Post-restoration results


11/30/07 - Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish & Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) has established a monofilament recovery and recycling program (MRRP) in 17 counties in Florida.  Monofilament recovery is important in the protection of a variety of sea life, including birds, fish, dolphins, manatees and sea turtles.  Towards the goal of expanding this program, the FWRI was awarded a FCMP state agency subgrant, for FY 2004-2005, to establish an MRRP in Palm Beach County.  Project tasks included educational outreach; volunteer recruitment and training to manage outdoor monofilament recycling bins; production of flyers, brochures, posters and an educational video; and construction of an educational display kiosk.  Other programs benefited by this subgrant include NOAA's Marine Debris Program and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Additional Link: The Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup

Monofilament Recovery Bin photo courtesy of SeaGrant
Monofilament Recovery Bin



Last updated: October 19, 2016

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