Part of Brevard County has been blessed by nature by not only having a great swell window but it also boasts an inshore reef area that attracts a wide variety of marine life. This natural barrier is currently under attack by local politicians who want to use the extremely wasteful dredge and fill method which will cover what they say will be 10% of the local inner reef. One politician stated that this must be done to protect the condos and to increase the important revenue source of tourism. I will agree with this fellow on this account because tourism is indeed important to the state economy although one can argue that Indian Harbour Beach or Satellite Beach are hardly duking it out with the Disney corridor or Miami as a tourist destination. If the concern was indeed tourism, then one would argue that building a wall of solid condominiums down the shoreline would not lend itself to tourism when a visitor would have a difficult time knowing where to park.
To counter this poorly thought out reasoning, I will now turn to a state where the value for your buck model is a lot higher and that would be Hawaii. As a kid growing up in Hawaii, you learn some nifty lessons. Some places can kill you if you are not careful. Some very popular beaches have a few areas that have rather jagged rocks or reefs. There is also expanses with zero development. Oddly enough, people seem to book tickets there and many come back. That is because people enjoy scenery minus convenience stores, multi-story hotels, parking meters, and mini golf courses. They get their share of this in the cities and towns where they come from and want something more…natural and un-tampered…like a barge dumping sand over rocks with sub-standard bottom fill.
When I first came to the area, there were large fields of sea oats that we found trails to get to the surf through. The trip across the reef made the experience unique and the water was teeming with turtles, dolphins, and some sharks of course. Then more and more condos began to cast a shadow over the lineups making it prematurely darker as the sun was setting. But from the shoreline outward it was always an escape from the increasing traffic on A-1A.
If you read this and want to take a few moments to sign a petition then I thank you very much! If you are not a local…better! The commissioners seem to believe that tourists are not happy with a natural environment. There is a comment section to express your feelings at the end of the petition.
For a more scientific theory of the reef, please read the petition. The reef is vital to many animals including the turtle population.
Photos by Sara Cassidy.