Surfrider Sues To Save Lake Worth Pier

Legal Challenge

On March 4, 2008 the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) released a notice of intent to issue a permit to the Town of Palm Beach to perform a beach renourishment project (Reach 8), also known as "dredge and fill" by the environmental community. The project will cover an area of approximately 1.3 miles extending from the Ambassador condominium south to the Atrium condominium. The Lake Worth public beach is excluded from the project. The Lake Worth City Council voted unanimously not to participate in this unnecessary and environmentally destructive project.

On March 13, 2008, the law firm of Collins & West PA filed a Petition for Formal Administrative Hearing on behalf of the Surfrider Foundation, the Snook Foundation and three individuals against the issuance of the FDEP permit authorizing the beach dredge and fill.

The intent of the Surfrider challenge is to block the project which threatens to destroy valuable and irreplaceable near-shore ecosystem. This habitat is essential to the survival of threatened and endangered species of sea turtles and coral and provides essential habitat as a fisheries nursery.

The Project

The FDEP, by their own admission, characterizes a significant portion of the project as "historically stable beach"

Quote from draft permit "After a {{{review}}} of the data and analysis provided by the Town, the Department concluded that recent storms have not caused erosion to such a degree that upland development is threatened and that historical changes do not indicate a long-term trend of erosion. The Department also declined to designate this historically stable beach as critically eroded"

In spite of the FDEP stable beach determination, the Town of Palm Beach plans to move forward and bury 7 acres of hardbottom/coral habitat. In exchange the Town has agreed to build 8 acres of "mitigation reef" to compensate for the burial, at a cost of approximately 8 million dollars.

Voters in the Town of Palm Beach defeated a referendum on the December ballot to fund the Reach 8 project. In spite of this defeat Palm Beach is determined to spend taxpayer dollars on an unnecessary, environmentally damaging and politically driven project.

Ben Bourgeois enjoys some of Palm Beach’s finest

About the Surfrider Foundation:

The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of our world's oceans, waves and beaches. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over 50,000 members and 64 chapters across the United States and Puerto Rico, with international affiliates in Australia, Europe, Japan and Brazil.