Grant: 07-019E
Project Title: Dynamic Habitat Accommodation: The Policy Framework to Ensure Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches in Florida
Project Manager: Thomas Ankerson
Organization: University of Florida - Conservation Clinic (Research and Educational Institute)
Grant Amount: $25,620.00
Completion Date: 2008-11-17

Summary: The project will research and identify obstacles and opportunities in current coastal policy to achieve the goal of perpetual accommodation of dynamic sea-turtle nesting habitat. The project will determine current obstacles through a systematic analysis of past permits for coastal construction in selected geographic cells that require, or may in the near future require, coastal armoring. Opportunities will be identified through research ranging from accommodation within the current coastal policy framework to innovations that will require new policy development. The project will be conducted by the professors and staff attorneys in the University of Florida Conservation Clinic at the Levin College of Law and will involve law and graduate students.

Results: The UF Conservation Clinic developed a comprehensive white paper on coastal policy to promote dynamic beaches as sea turtle nesting habitat. The paper is available on the Clinic's website at The Conservation Clinic has received numerous requests for the paper, including an interview request from and article in the Florida Times-Union. The Conservation Clinic has printed 15 color and 30 black-and-white copies of the report. On May 8th 2008, the Conservation Clinic, Thomas Ruppert, and Thomas Ankersen hosted a workshop on dynamic beaches and sea turtle nesting habitat at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. The workshop included student presentations of student research on issues related to sea turtle nesting habitat and coastal policy. The final agenda for the workshop is on the enclosed CD along with a list of those invited as well as those that attended. Workshop attendees were very engaged during discussion and shared numerous concerns and stories about turtle nesting habitat and beach management. Input received from the workshop contributed to the final white paper. The Conservation Clinic worked with the Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institute (NRLI) to develop a module focused on coastal policy and sea turtles for the NRLI program. The module included an overview of the topic provided by Thomas Ruppert and Thomas Ankersen, turtle-viewing at night on the beach, and site visits to varying armoring structures and sites of contention in Indian River County as part of a guided tour by a county official familiar with contentious issues and permits on the beaches of Indian River County. (Author: Thomas Ankerson & Thomas Ruppert)