The Florida Wildlife Federation today released a report to inform Florida lawmakers and the public about the value coastal habitats provide in protecting Florida communities and wildlife from storms and sea level rise. Nature’s First Line of Defense: Key Reasons to Protect and Restore Coastal Habitats demonstrates the importance of implementing wise public policy and effective strategies that will help protect our vulnerable state from inevitable major storms and rising seas.

“The Federation is proud to present Nature’s First Line of Defense to policymakers and the public at large. This report recognizes the multiple values of our coastal habitats including valuable fish and wildlife habitats and natural storm buffers for our communities and businesses. The report offers key policy recommendations that reduce the public exposure to storms and rising seas,” said Federation President Manley K. Fuller.

Florida’s coastal habitats provide natural buffers for some of the most economically valuable and extensive shorelines in the nation. These coastal habitats provide varying levels of storm protection through storm and flood reduction for the greatest number of people and property.

Additionally, Florida derives immense value from our coastal regions as a source of tourism, recreation and from the wildlife that lives on and relies upon our near-shore environments for food and shelter. Because of these high value recreational opportunities and for storm protection services, it is imperative for communities to protect and restore these areas as valuable and naturally occurring first lines of defense.

“To better prepare for such events, the report focuses on the following adaptation efforts: restoration of wetlands, insurance reform, conservation land buying and participation in the federal Community Rating System,” said Fuller. “We urge our elected officials and the general public to take this opportunity to learn more about Florida’s unique geography and the importance of protecting our natural environment.”

To view the report visit: http://www.fwfonline.org/documents/FWFFirstLineOfDefense.pdf

Logo courtesy Florida Wildlife Federation

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