Sand Wars in Florida


Gorgeous sandy beaches are fundamental to Florida’s economy. A record 116.5 million tourists visited Florida in 2017, up 3.6% from 2016, generating commerce valued at $67bn

Since the 1950s Florida authorities have spent $1.3bn “nourishing” the beaches – periodically buying in supplementary sand. Despite a huge effort, nearly half the state’s 825 miles of beaches are now considered “critically eroded”.

The National Academy of Sciences asserts that global sea levels could rise more than 6ft by 2100, twice as much as previously predicted, making much of Florida uninhabitable.

“If it turns out the amount of sea level rise corresponds to what scientists are saying, there’s going to be a retreat [from the area],” said Tomasello, the environmental lawyer. “That’s going to be the only option because you’re going to be living in the water 50-100 years down the road.”

For U.S. maps and analysis based on the more accurate lidar-derived data available along U.S. coasts, visit the Risk Zone Map and Risk Finder web tools ( and

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