Go Green, Save Green

Over the past 100 years, humans have altered the fragile South Florida coastline to the extent that the natural system barely exists today. As a consequence of shoreline development, millions of tax dollars have been spent building jetties and re-nourishing the beaches in a futile and temporary attempt to slow the inevitable erosion caused by human activities, storms and sea level rise.

According to a 2010 report*, in 1999 approximately 5 percent of Florida’s shoreline was designated as critically eroding. Today, of the 825 miles of sandy beaches, over 500 miles or 60 percent are considered eroded.

South Florida is now considered ground zero for the earliest signs of sea level rise. While the complexity, severity and timing of the changes are still up for debate, the decisions being made today will affect coastal communities for years to come. In order to avoid the continued waste and exploitation of sand—a limited natural resource, every attempt should be made to preserve and protect beach-compatible sand sources. In addition, we must develop a more regional and comprehensive approach to sustaining the coastal environment. Our ability to sustain the quality of life in South Florida will depend on it.

Youth Environmental Alliance (YEA), along with thousands of students, parents and corporate volunteers, has worked since 2012 to help replant and stabilize the Southeast Florida coastline.  The process of replanting protective dunes, mangroves, and adjacent uplands is an inexpensive, durable and environmentally sustainable way to restore and protect coastal areas negatively impacted by development, storms and sea level rise. Furthermore, YEA has united those with competing interests, from diverse populations and from multiple jurisdictions. YEA facilitates collaborative action towards the goal of providing long-lasting, ecologically sound, community-based solutions.

YEA has many restoration opportunities scheduled for 2015 and is looking for volunteers who want to make a difference in their local community. For anyone interested in helping to protect the shoreline and save the beaches, call Kristen Hoss at 954-382-0188 and visit yeaFrog.org.

*Coastal Hazards section of Florida’s 2010 FACT report: dep.state.fl.us/cmp/publications/FACT_2010/RevFACTjune28/Coastal_Hazards_JUN28.pdf