On Thursday, July 10, 2014 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service adopted new regulations designating portions of Florida’s sandy beaches as “Critical Habitat” for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle. Local beaches affected by this designation include Longboat Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key, Venice Beaches, Manasota Key, Knight Island, Don Pedro Island, Little Gasparilla Island, and Gasparilla Island. Beaches of Anna Maria Island and Lido Key were not included.
The direct effect of this designation is that any coastal development requiring federal funding or federal permits, will be reviewed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether or not the proposed project is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, or destroy or adversely modify the designated critical habitat. The construction and remodeling of existing residential structures does not require federal permits. Therefore, this recent action should not have any direct effect on the local housing market. However, federal permits typically are required for beachfront seawalls and beach renourishment.
As sea levels continue to rise, this is a matter that will need to be readdressed sooner than later.
To learn more about Loggerhead Sea Turtles, go to the Endangered Species page.Read More