turtle advisory sign
Turtle advisory signs are not enough
To read the current ordinance notice sign, click this picture
Will new signs work?

Remove it or lose it - Walton County Beach Activities Ordinance, Florida

Beginning Monday, July 23rd, 2007 the county began enforcing a section G. of Article IV of the County Beach Activities Ordinance. (See http://www.municode.com/resources/gateway.asp?pid=12452&sid=9.) That provision provides that “it is unlawful for beach chairs, umbrellas, tents and other such articles to be on the beach in such a manner that they interfere with beach maintenance, nesting turtles or emergency vehicles”. I'll update the information from the top down: Phase II, SWCC announcement.

Phase II

In mid-August the "Remove it or Lose it" program was modified as follows.

SWCC announcement

The primary problem addressed by the Ordinance is articles left on the beach at night. It has apparently now escalated to the point where it is not only interfering with the ability of sea turtles to nest but is also posing a safety risk to persons trying to enjoy an evening stroll down the beach.

Here are the salient points as understood from discussions with Code Enforcement.

From sunset to sunrise, personal items must be removed from the beach or located at the toe of the dune. (Note: they cannot be placed ON the dune) Private property owners, however, can store items under or adjacent to their private walkovers provided the items are not near a TDC trash receptacle. Items cannot be placed under or near any public beach walkovers or near any of the 400 trash receptacles maintained by the Walton County Tourist Development Council (TDC).

Items left on the beach in violation of the ordinance will be tagged by either Code Enforcement or the Sheriff’s department. The owner will have 24 hours to remove or properly locate any tagged items. If not removed or properly located they will be removed by the TDC maintenance crew and disposed of. Items stored under or near any public beach walkover or TDC trash receptacle will immediately be removed and disposed of. They will not be tagged as a warning.

The Ordinance pertains to both private and public beach front property.

According to WZEP News, “the Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council (TDC) is announcing the "Remove it or Lose it" campaign to help the Sheriff's Department and Code Enforcement enforce the Walton County Ordinance 2003-07g. The "Remove it or Lose it" campaign will assist in educating the public on the ordinance to ensure a smooth transition for beachgoers”.

The article further states “Kriss Titus, executive director of the TDC says the sheer volume of beachgoers leaving personal items on the beach forced the county to address the public safety and environmental concern. Titus says, as the organization charged with marketing the destination and maintaining the county's 26-miles of beaches, it was natural for the TDC to spearhead the 'Remove It or Lose It' campaign and for their beach crews to remove abandoned items”.

Although the Ordinance does not address the issue of holes on the beach, I would like to draw attention to the fact that large holes can interfere with turtle nesting and with hatchlings trying to get from the nest to the water. They are also very dangerous to people jogging and even walking down the beach at night. When you leave, please fill any holes which may become a safety risk to people and turtles.

If you have any questions concerning the enforcement of the Ordinance, you can contact either Code Enforcement at (850) 622-0000 or the Tourist Development Council (TDC) at (850) 267-1216.

This information was distributed by the South Walton Community Council. See also the press release from the TDC and the wholeo.net movie page.

turtle advisory sign
Current notice does not mention items left on beach
Will there be new signs?

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© 2007 Caroling All rights reserved. Page created: 2007-07-27. Last modified: 2007-08-17