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June 15, 2009

FEMA Launches Effort to Measure Impact of Climate Change on Flood Insurance

By EVAN LEHMANN and CLIMATEWIRE <http://www.climatewire.net/>

ORLANDO, Fla. — Federal officials are struggling to calculate the fiscal impact that climate change could have on the nation’s troubled public flood insurance program, amid predictions of intensifying downpours and more potent hurricanes. The mission is proving extremely difficult, according to one researcher, who said the effort so far has failed to reveal even “squishy assumptions.”

The study, undertaken by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which runs the insurance program, aims to determine how seawater will surge onto shorelines around the United States as warming oceans expand and rise. It also seeks to establish how warming temperatures will affect inland flooding nationwide, potentially revealing the likelihood of more damage in some riverine areas.

The results might raise policy premiums and mark a need to redraw flood lines that may place more homes in the riskiest parts of valleys and flatlands. Those changes are politically tricky, and the study could press lawmakers to make unpopular decisions that have an economic impact on their states.

Mark Crowell, a FEMA geologist who is overseeing the study, said it may be “one of the most important” analyses undertaken by the agency over the next several years. “It is imperative to understand how climate change can impact the National Flood Insurance Program,” he said.

The insurance program has been criticized by environmentalists for offering policies — and sometimes prices — that encourage people to build homes in flood-prone areas. The study could answer complaints about the program’s use of historical records to ascertain risk by providing future estimates of flood damage in a warming world.

That could drive changes to building codes, raise insurance premium prices and shift determinations of where development may be allowed — all projected on potential impacts of climate change through 2090.

June 15, 2009

OCEAN PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Oceans are the Earth’s dominant feature. They cover more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface and affect our lives in a variety of ways. This month we celebrate the wonder of the oceans, and we commit to protecting and sustaining them for current and future generations.

The oceans are critical to supporting life. From the abyssal plains of the Pacific to the shallow coral reefs and seagrass beds of the Florida Keys, oceans support an incredible diversity of marine life and ecosystems. The base of the oceanic ecosystem provides most of the oxygen we breathe, so oceans are critical to our survival. These bodies of water also drive weather patterns and affect climate.
Our Nation’s economy relies heavily on the oceans. Goods and services are transported across them constantly. They support countless jobs in an array of industries, including fishing, tourism, and energy. The economies of entire regions depend on the oceans.

The United States has been a leader in exploring and protecting this critical resource. We have gained new insights into the ocean ecosystems through research and monitoring. We have promoted innovative conservation efforts, such as setting aside special areas as national marine sanctuaries. We have also reduced overfishing, made great strides in reducing coastal pollution, and helped restore endangered species and degraded habitats.

My Administration continues to build upon this progress, and we are taking a more integrated and comprehensive approach to developing a national ocean policy that will guide us well into the future. This policy will incorporate ecosystem-based science and management and emphasize our public stewardship responsibilities. My Administration also is working to develop a systematic marine spatial planning framework for the conservation and sustainable use of ocean resources. I am committed to protecting these resources and ensuring accountability for actions that affect them.

During National Oceans Month, we celebrate these vast spaces and the myriad ways they sustain life. We also pledge to preserve them and commend all those who are engaged in efforts to meet this end.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as National Oceans Month. I call upon all Americans to learn more about the oceans and what can be done to conserve them.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

BARACK OBAMA

June 12, 2009

New and Improved Florida Surfrider Foundation Page

Make sure you add this page to your RSS feed to stay up to date!

June 3, 2009

Gov Crist Unfortunately Signs Senate Bill 360

Gov. Crist had built a solid environmental record. He championed the U.S. Sugar buyout to help restore the Everglades, and he proposed Florida’s first renewable energy standards. He tarnished that record Monday by signing what the Legislature named the “Community Renewal Act” but what more accurately should be called the “No Growth Management Act.”

Supporters say that Senate Bill 360 will improve the state’s growth management efforts by removing unnecessary restrictions in urban areas. But the bill creates a ridiculous definition of “urban area.” Tiny towns, such as 400-person Briny Breezes, qualify. So would rural areas along State Road 7. In all, eight counties and 245 cities qualify, including all cities in Palm Beach County along with Stuart, Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie on the Treasure Coast.

In urban areas, developers no longer will have to show that adequate roads exist to serve their projects. Large proposals no longer will have to meet rigorous Development of Regional Impact standards.

The loss of control over development will make it much harder to protect paradise. And does anyone blame Florida’s economic woes on building too little? Since the Growth Management Act passed in 1985, Florida has added 7 million people.

IT IS NOW UP TO OUR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO PROTECT US FROM THIS BILL. They can choose to not enforce this through one of the loopholes in the bill, but our vigilance is now required.

More stories can be found below:

http://www.wtsp.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=106944
http://www.wmnf.org/news_stories/crist-signs-growth-management-bill
http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2009/jun/02/kenric-ward-crist-refuels-bulldozers/
http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/article1006369.ece

June 3, 2009

Great Ocean Science Curriculum for Teachers


View over 150 coral reef activities for students at www.southeastfloridareefs.net/912grade.php

Read “Southeast Florida Reef news” at www.southeastfloridareefs.net/news.php

Study over 40 species of stony corals at www.southeastfloridareefs.net/gallery.php

Watch all four of our public service announcements at www.southeastfloridareefs.net/videos.php

June 2, 2009

Best FL Example of a County Code of Ordinances

All Counties should adopt this ordinance like Volusia County did..

Sec. 20-82. General policy.
The intent of section 205.1 of the Charter is to determine as a legislative fact binding on county government that since time immemorial the public has enjoyed access to the beach and has made recreational use of the beach; that such use has been ancient, reasonable, without interruption, and free from dispute; and that, because of this customary access and use, the public has the right of access to the beach and a right to use the beach for recreation and other customary purposes. The intent of section 205.1 of the Charter is to mandate that county government define, protect and enforce the public’s customary rights of beach access and use. It is not the intent of the Charter or of this chapter to affect in any way the title of the owner of land adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, or to impair the right of any such owner to contest the existence of the customary right of the public to access and use any particular area of privately owned beach, or to reduce or limit any rights of public access or use that may exist or arise other than as customary rights. It is therefore declared and affirmed to be the public policy of this county that the public, individually and collectively, subject to the provisions of this chapter, shall have the right of personal ingress and egress to and from the beach and the right to make recreational and other customary uses of the beach. The county legal department shall be authorized to take all steps legally necessary to protect and defend the public right of access and use declared by the Charter and this chapter.
(Ord. No. 87-36, § 3.01, 11-16-87)

June 2, 2009

Florida Bar Journal Article on Beach Access

Check out the recent COVER of the Florida Bar Journal and its discussion on Beach Access: Click Here to Read the Article.

June 2, 2009

Beach Bill died in Senate in April

The bill did die early on in March after not making it to the next Senate Committee agenda.

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