“What’s the value of a clean beach? Here’s how economists do the numbers”

“What’s the value of a clean beach? Here’s how economists do the numbers”

Photo: Florida Trend

“…In one recent study, I worked with other researchers to estimate increased travel and time expenditures that people incurred to avoid trash and debris on 31 Southern California beaches. No one wants to go to a beach littered with hypodermic needles, plastic bottles and discarded fishing nets. But cleaning up marine debris is expensive, and it is hard for communities to recover the costs, particularly for public beaches with open access. Understanding the value of cleaner beaches can help build support for funding trash collection.

To measure the amount of debris, we hired workers to walk the beaches tallying quantities of trash. Then we surveyed Southern California residents about how often and where they went to the beach, which enabled us to correlate numbers of visitors at each beach with quantities of debris. Finally, using travel time and expenses for each visitor to visit each beach, we modeled the relationship between where they chose to go to the beach, how much they spent to get there, and the cleanliness of the beach.

Using this model, we found that visitors to these beaches would be willing to incur $12.91 in additional costs per trip if each of the beaches had 25 percent less debris. This translated into a total willingness to pay $29.5 million for action to reduce marine debris by 25 percent on these beaches…”

— Timothy Haab, The Conversation, Florida Trend
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Legal: Beach trash collection Vs. private property  “Walton County trashes private beach garbage collection”

Legal: Beach trash collection Vs. private property “Walton County trashes private beach garbage collection”

Photo: NWF Daily News

“…Walton County is notifying coastal private property owners that its crews will no longer collect garbage from the beaches at their homes or condominiums.

County Attorney Sidney Noyes told county commissioners Tuesday that enough owners had refused to back off previous requests to keep county vehicles off their land to warrant the decision to halt all garbage collections.

‘Unfortunately, even though some of these individual private property owners have rescinded their requests, others are not willing to, so it looks like we will not be able to continue the garbage collection service on private property,’ Noyes told the board.

Noyes said letters would be sent out Tuesday or Wednesday to inform all owners that as of Aug. 13 they would be responsible for picking up their own beach trash, something Walton’s Tourist Development Council has done for years…

The county’s move is the latest fallout from the July 1 implementation of a new state law. HB 631 wiped out Walton County’s customary use ordinance and gave private beachfront owners the ability to post no trespassing signs on their property and prevent people from accessing dry sand areas there…

Sheriff Michael Adkinson, whose deputies have been called upon regularly since July 1 to mediate property disputes on local beaches, has said consistently his deputies are not going to charge anyone on the beach with criminal trespass.

Nonetheless, Commission Chairman Bill Chapman argued at Tuesday’s meeting that the county couldn’t risk collecting trash on private property for fear an arrest would result.

‘I don’t want to see legal action taken, criminally, by our guys going up and down there and picking up the trash,’ Chapman said. ‘I don’t want guys driving being subjected to arrest by the sheriff because we’ve violated a demand letter.’

..Litigation seems to be on the horizon. Attorney and customary use advocate Steve Uhlfelder warned commissioners Tuesday that by refusing garbage collection the private property owners were strengthening an argument against customary use. He urged them to continue sending crews to pick up trash in defiance of the no trespassing warnings.

‘Don’t go along with it. Go pick up the trash and maintain the beaches, otherwise you will be giving up some legal arguments,’ Uhlfelder said. “I don’t think you should be dictated to’…”

— Tom McLaughlin, nwfDailyNews.com
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Haulover Beach: “FPL, Miami-Dade County team up for 36th Biscayne Bay cleanup”

Haulover Beach: “FPL, Miami-Dade County team up for 36th Biscayne Bay cleanup”

“Florida Power and Light provided on Saturday a different kind of service than providing electricity to homes and businesses. The utility and Miami-Dade County teamed up for the 36th annual Baynanza Biscayne Bay Cleanup Day. The event gave more than 200 volunteers a chance to remove waste from the Biscayne Bay shoreline and take part in the largest shoreline cleanup in South Florida.”


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Addressing derelict boats will take more resources in Palmetto, police chief says

Addressing derelict boats will take more resources in Palmetto, police chief says

Photo: Tiffany Tompkins

“On one side of the Green Bridge in Palmetto sits the Regatta Pointe Marina, where the liveaboard lifestyle is growing and flourishing. Boat owners take care of their vessels, pay their fees and enjoy their ‘homes’ on the water.

On the other side of the bridge, and many other waterways across the state, it’s a different story.

Federal maritime law allows any boater, with any boat, to anchor in navigable water and stay as long as they want. It’s a scenario that all too often leaves non-functioning vessels in place to the point they become derelict, a community eyesore and potentially an environmental hazard.

In August, Palmetto updated its property ordinance to include language in a law passed by the Florida Legislature in 2016 that gives local law enforcement agencies more authority to deal with the statewide nuisance of derelict boats. The law allows law enforcement to take action on boats ‘at risk’ of becoming derelict.

Derelict and abandoned boats tend to draw what are essentially squatters, and the law doesn’t solve the overall issues regarding the difficulties of dealing with irresponsible boat owners. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Randy Bibler was quoted in the Tampa Bay Times, saying, ‘Much of the public doesn’t understand how the process has to be handled.’

It’s essentially an eviction process where certified letters must be sent out and responded to, and tracking down the owners who have long since abandoned a vessel, even if it was registered, can be a daunting process. Agencies can’t tow boats off the water without making every effort to find the owner, Bibler said.

Hurricane Irma and an overactive storm season in Florida made things worse. FWC and the Department of Environmental Protection have been bogged down in trying to find and remove damaged or missing vessels and ensure those boats have not created an environmental hazard…

‘We continue to work on marine enforcement and right now we are working on agreements with the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office to use their boats,’ Tyler said. ‘The problem with availability is that Irma caused a lot of derelict boats those agencies are busy chasing around.’

Vice Mayor Brian Williams said it’s not getting any better: ‘When you have a boat tying up to a sunken boat, that’s an issue. That group is still an issue and hopefully we can accomplish some change on our waterfront.’

Tyler said the changes in the statute were a good start and the subsequent amendments to the city’s ordinance give him the chance to improve the situation…’

— Mark Young, Bradenton Herald

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New job title in Orange County: “Beautification Technician”

New job title in Orange County: “Beautification Technician”

Photos: Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel

“Little things add up, said Ramil Celestin as he plucked a beer carton, a plastic grocery bag and a french fry box off the center lane of Pine Hills Road.

He chucked the trash into the back of a county van stacked with illegal road-side signs that shouted: ‘JUNK CARS’ and ‘DELETE YOUR BAD CREDIT.’ He had snatched up those signs, too.

‘Little things can add up to good, they can add up to bad,’ said Celestin, 57, who has worked for about a year as a ‘beautification technician,’ a title created for the job by Michelle Owens, executive director of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Improvement District.

She will address the Orange County commission…on progress in Pine Hills, one of the county’s largest communities and a place fighting to wipe away the stains of crime and blight.

‘We have a lot of exciting things that are beginning to gel in Pine Hills and, going forward, this is all going to have a huge impact on what people think of when they think of Pine Hills,’ Owens said.

Celestin believes he is making a difference in Pine Hills, where he earns $18 an hour to pick up litter and remove ‘snipe’ advertising signs. He usually works three or four mornings a week.

Celestin, also the CEO of a janitorial business, said he picks up enough trash and litter from the roads and sidewalks of Pine Hills in two mornings to fill up a dumpster.

Ramil Celestin dispose of trash he picked up in Pine Hills as part of the community’s effort to improve its image. He works mornings three or four days under the title ‘beautification technician’ and collects enough garbage in two mornings to fill a Dumpster.

‘It was really filthy, really nasty,’ Celestin said, recalling his first week picking up soda cans, cigarette packages, lottery tickets and fast food litter.

His work is a never-ending chore as a street which he cleans Friday is often trashy again by Monday.

‘But I do my best,’ Celestin said.

The tax-supported improvement district also gave ‘trash grabbers’ to some neighborhood businesses to help them tidy their store fronts.

One shop then chose to hire a homeless man to pick up litter in their parking area every week, Owens said…”
–Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel

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