Florida Chapter NetworkDedicated to the protection and enjoyment of Florida's ocean, waves and beaches More Details
As we prepare to close out 2015 and ring in the new year, I want to brag a little about all the accomplishments of our Florida Surfrider Foundation Chapters:
- The Miami Chapter helped ban EPS foam in Miami Beach (the biggest EPS ban in the state!), helped local schools ditch foam trays, launched a major, all inclusive RAP effort, hosted their first ever event at Art Basel and so much more!
- The Broward County Chapter has come back from a long absence- they have a new EC, are hosting regular chapter meetings, cleanups, and more! 2016 has big things in store for this chapter, so lookout!
- The Palm Beach County Chapter has launched Florida’s only Blue Water Task Force water quality monitoring program! That is of course in addition to holding meetings with legislators, commenting on coastal projects and signing on to a lawsuit against FDEP for armoring on Singer Island.
- The Sebastian Inlet Chapter launched the hugely successful Melbourne Beach Bag Reduction Program and now have other local communities asking to be next! Their annual Ocean Reef Beach Festival reached over 7,000 people! They’ve also bolstered their OFG program and started a new school club, to name just a few of their many accomplishments!
- This year the Cocoa Beach Chapter joined forces with Operation Surf to get soldiers and veterans out on the water. One participant had lost his legs above the knee and endured over 100 surgeries- this was the first time he’d seen the ocean, but at the end of the week, “he was surfing like a pro!” Cocoa Beach also reminds the Florida Chapters to save the date for the Annual Waterman’s Challenge June 3rd-5th!
- The Volusia-Flagler Chapter has been working hard to build a strong activist and member base with fun events like the annual Black Tie & Baggies and Kids Eco-Surf Clinic. The Chapter brought out over fifty participants to Hands Across the Sand to say no to seismic testing and offshore drilling in the Atlantic!
- In 2015, the First Coast Chapter conducted eight beach cleanups, fought seismic testing by pursuing resolutions of support from local governments across their region, and developed a major Ocean Friendly Garden project at Mayport Elementary School. They used their annual Black Tie & Baggies to support outreach and education by the Saltwater Cowgirls to get a new generation of young women into surfing.
- The Emerald Coast Chapter is now the only entity conducting any sort of organized beach monitoring post-Deepwater Horizon. The Chapter created and launched a volunteer training program to help concerned citizens identify and report tarballs, tarmats, oiled debris and more. The Chapter is also working with Surfrider’s legal team on several beach access issues in the Destin area.
- The Suncoast Chapter is getting very close to a plastic straw ban on Treasure Island (stay tuned in early 2016!), partnered with Barefoot Wine & Bubbly to bring over 100+ volunteers to a beach cleanup, launched a major new RAP committee, partnered with local artists to create a plastic awareness public art installation, and so much more!
- This year the Central Florida Chapter launched the No Foam Zone campaign to ban EPS foam in Orlando! Fingers crossed Orlando will pass their ordinance in early 2016- stay tuned! Central Florida also hosted numerous waterway cleanups and outreach events to share the Surfrider Foundation’s mission to protect and enjoy!
Thank you for all that you do, thank you for all of your hard work, and thank you for ensuring that our future generations will get to know and love the oceans, waves and beaches you work to protect. I can’t wait to see what we accomplish in 2016!!
Florida Regional Manager
The Surfrider Foundation’s Florida Chapter Conference is held annually on the first weekend in November. It’s an opportunity for all the Florida Chapters to come together for two days of training, workshops, guest lectures, team-building, and fun. This year, over fifty activists representing ten chapters from across the state gathered at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound. The group kicked off the conference with a field trip to Blowing Rocks Preserve to learn about coastal restoration on barrier islands and nearshore hardbottom.
The conference speakers tackled issues ranging from seismic blasting and offshore oil drilling to plastic pollution, ocean acidification, climate change and beach access. Click here to view the full agenda. Our chapters are making a real difference protecting our ocean, waves and beaches in Florida. Click here to read a blog on the Florida Chapter Conference by First Coast Chapter Chair (and author!) Paul Hayden.
Spring 2016 Environmental Internship
The Surfrider Foundation is now accepting applications from graduate and undergraduate students for Spring 2016 internships. The internship will be located Tallahassee, Florida assisting the Florida Regional Manager in researching issues involving legislation, public policy and grassroots organizing at the forefront of ocean policy governance. While the position is unpaid, it is unique and flexible and provides interns an opportunity to gain hands on experience, contacts and substantial work experience. The internship is designed to provide a wide range of programmatic, and administrative experience relating to environmental topics of state and national significance, with a focus on issues relating to public access to beaches, water quality, beach armoring, recycling and single use plastics.
Congratulations to Seth Bloomgarden, our December Volunteer of the Month!Seth currently serves as Secretary of the Miami Chapter. Chapter Chair Jayson Koch writes,
Nov. 20th, 2015
Greetings Friends of our Oceans,
Believe it or not, we’re already very close to the 2016 Legislative Session! Here’s what you need to know about our bag bill this year.
- Representative Richardson and Senator Bullard have filed Disposable Bags (HB143/S306) for the 2016 Legislative Session. This bill is identical to last year’s legislation, with one minor addition- we have defined coastal communities as those touching the Gulf, Atlantic or a bay.
- HB143/S306 would allow municipalities with populations under 100,000 to create a pilot program to regulate or ban single-use plastic bags.
- The pilot program runs until 2019 and is limited to coastal communities.
- HB143/S306 restores home rule and gives local governments the ability to protect their communities from the harmful impacts single-use plastics.
How you can help:
- Contact Rep. Tom Goodson, Chair of the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee and ask him to put HB143, Disposable Bags, on the committee agenda ASAP. (321) 383-5151, email@example.com
- Contact Sen. Charlie Dean, Chair of the Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee and ask him to put S306, Disposable Bags, on the committee agenda ASAP. (352) 860-5175, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact YOUR Senator & Representative and ask them to support the bill and sign on as a co-sponsor!
- Contact your city and county commission and ask them to pass a resolution of support! Over twenty cities have passed resolutions! Attached is a sample resolution.
- Save the date for Florida Coasts & Oceans Day in Tallahassee on January 21st. Visit your legislators at the Capitol and help pass the bag bill!
Click here to download talking points, and you can find additional information on our bag ban efforts here. Please let me know if you have any questions, and thanks for all your efforts to protect our oceans, waves and beaches!
Florida Regional Manager
It has not been a short journey- it started years ago with a ban on foam coolers on all of Miami’s beaches. Earlier this year the ordinance grew to cover a foam ban on all city property. Then, on September 2nd, the Miami Beach City Commission voted to expand the foam ban to the entire City of Miami Beach. The ban includes coolers and foam foodware. Miami Beach will begin enforcement with public education, then transition to a warning system, and finally to issuing fines for violations by November of 2016. More.
Congratulations to our September Volunteer of the Month, Alec Buchness! Alec currently serves as Vice Chair of the Sebastian Inlet Chapter, though that’s just one of the many hats he wears as a chapter activist and volunteer!