Sea grapes, a protected species in Florida, are under attack in Delray Beach.
At the Aug 18th Delray Beach city commissioners meeting (@ 5:49 mark), three city commissioners (Commissioner Frankel, Commissioner Boylston and Commissioner Johnson) unofficially voted to order the city to cut down all the iconic sea grape archways along A1A to 48 inches in height. Even though, a scientific study from 2017 on dune management returned a report that specifically directed the City of Delray Beach to leave the tall sea grapes untouched. The report noted the tall sea grapes provide a maritime hammock (Maritime forests/hammocks are shoreline estuaries that grow along coastal barrier islands that support a great diversity of plants and animals. Many species of mammals and reptiles make the forests their home, and thousands of birds migrate to maritime forests each year. Source) buffer missing on the edge of a healthy beach dune system that protects small dune animals and gives refuge to birds. Most importantly, the tall sea grapes block light and sound at the busy intersection of A1A and Atlantic Ave supporting nesting and hatchling sea turtles.
Due to a letter from the Beach Property Owner’s Association written on AUG 10th, which you can scroll down to read for yourself, Commissioner Frankel felt it would be a good idea to approve their trimming requests and thereby ignore the sea grape trimming regulations put in place by Florida DEP.
Thanks to ocean champions like you, who sent emails and made phone calls in strong opposition to this plan, the Delray Beach city commission has added the sea grape trimming discussion to their meeting agenda for September 10th @ 2PM.
Submit a public comment for the meeting in opposition of trimming the sea grapes and/or the maritime hammock created by the tall sea grape archways.
Any member of the public wishing to comment publicly on any matter, including public comment or public hearing items, may submit their comments by dialing (561) 243-7555 and leaving a voicemail message that will be played during the City Commission meeting and made a part of the public record:
- State your full name
- State your address
- Leave a comment no longer than 3 minutes.
Public comments will be accepted until 1 hour before the start of the meeting on the day of the meeting.
- “Sea grapes defend our beaches and dunes from erosion and heavy storms, which is crucial during hurricane season.”
- “Without Sea grapes and other salt-tolerant plant species, the beach and dune system becomes more vulnerable to erosion.”
- “Sea grape trees accumulate sand by the leaves, limbs and stalks which plays a major role in the construction of the beach and dune system.”
- “Sand stored in the dunes provides protection to homes and other structures from the effects of coastal storms.”
- “Trimming the sea grapes removes vegetation that often prevents lights from shining on the beach and causing confusing for sea turtle hatchlings trying to get to the ocean.”
- “The sea grape archways create a natural maritime hammock that protects small dune animals and gives protection to birds.”