Decision Making Using the Florida Coastal Management Program—A Case Study in Apalachicola Bay, Florida

by David W. Arnold, Dep of Natural Resources, Tallahassee, United States,
Steve Leitman, Dep of Natural Resources, Tallahassee, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91

Abstract: The management of Sikes Cut, a man-made inlet connecting Apalachicola Bay, Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico, has recently become a controversial issue requiring a number of regulatory agencies to utilize informal negotiation pursuant to the federally approved Florida Coastal Management Program (FCMP) to seek an acceptable solution. For over a decade, the provision of a federally authorized 10 × 100 foot navigation channel through Sikes Cut by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been hindered by a controversy associated with possible salinity changes introduced from the inlet. Residents of the County were left in a lose-lose situation. Many of the benefits which could be attained from the channel (i.e., shorter access to the Gulf of Mexico for shrimp boats, charter boats, and recreational boats based in Apalachicola) were not being realized because of its restricted dimensions, while the issue of possible salinity impacts remained unresolved. This paper presents an overview of the FCMP, then a case study of how the networked program of state agencies was used to reach a decision. The broader view of inlet management issues taken by several participating regulatory agencies is contrasted with the narrow focus on the channel maintenance proposed by the lead agency. In contrast to the institutional process, discussion of a negotiation forum on this same case, led by a private nonprofit environmental group, which used alternative dispute resolution techniques to address conflicts between the parties involved is also included.

Subject Headings: Coastal management | Case studies | Inlets (waterway) | Bays | Decision making | Coastal processes | Small craft | Federal government | Developing countries | Gulfs | Negotiation | North America | Florida | United States | Gulf of Mexico

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