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Southwest Florida beaches might get a boost from Florida Sen. Debbie Mayfield's bill revamping renourishment funding

Florida Sen. Debbie Mayfield has introduced a bill that would overhaul how state funding for beach preservation projects is decided.

Mayfield, a Melbourne Republican, said under her coastal management bill, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's "criteria for ranking beach and inlet sand management projects will be refined to better capture the economic importance of healthy beaches to tourism, storm damage reduction and resource protection."

Debbie Flack, president of the Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association, which supports the bill, said Mayfield's proposal provides a "much more refined" set of criteria for the state's allocation of money for beach and inlet restoration projects.

That funding totaled $50 million in both the state's fiscal 2017-18, and the current fiscal 2018-19, which ends June 30.

The bill could affect various beach renourishment projects on the Southwest coast, including its barrier island shorelines.

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