Land reclamation along Florida's coast

In the early 20th century a number of parcels along Florida's coasts were developed as resort sites. Swamps were filled, causeways built, and housing established, providing significant revenues for the state and areas for an expanding senior citizen population. An example of this kind of coastal development is Marco Island, a 6700 acre unit off the western coast of Florida.  Attempts were made as early as 1900 to develop the island. However, economic difficulties and the natural habitat (the Florida Everglades are within 20 miles) made development a challenge. At one point owners offered the site, for a fee, to the state as a nature preserve.  

In the 1960's a group that had previous success in developing Key Biscayne on the east Florida coast began development. They filled the swamps, constructed an airport runway, found fresh water, and built roads, connecting the island to the mainland. By 2000, luxury resorts lined the beaches, a business district was established, and lots for family housing were made available. Aerial photography acquired in 1950 and 1989 and Landsat satellite data acquired in 2011 illustrate how developers have altered the coastal areas and established valuable sites in previously marginal human habitat areas. The aerial photography and Landsat acquisitions are used by regional planners and state officials to monitor the changing landscape of the coastal regions.

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Friday, January 4, 2013