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Bruce Ritchie, 11/15/2012 – 05:29 PM.

A Florida Department of Environmental Protection divisional reorganization that includes eliminating a bureau dealing with beach issues is coming under fire.

Florida’s has 825 miles of sandy coastline, contributing $15 billion a year to the state’s economy from beach tourism, according to DEP.

The Division of Water Resource Management reorganization that was announced on Oct. 30 eliminated the Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems and moved its programs along with former mining and environmental resources permitting bureaus under a deputy division director.

The bureau previously administered coastal development rules along with more than $582 million in beach renourishment and restoration projects over 40 years, according to DEP. The funding program was moved under another deputy division director who oversees other local funding assistance programs.

Representatives of the Sea Turtle Survival Conservancy and the Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association said the reorganization eliminated a bureau that was a model for other states. But a department official said the laws and rules remain in place as a model for other states, and the reorganization removes layers of bureaucracy between employees who perform similar functions.

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