| Audubon Supports Bill That Would Lead to Better Sea Level Rise Planning|
|SB 513 filed by Reps. Bartleman (D-Weston) and Busatta Cabrera (R- Coral Gables) passed this week through the House Committee on Agriculture, Environment and Flooding (Chair, Rep. Buchanan, R- Osprey). The bill would require the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) to produce an annual report on the impact of sea-level rise and flood resiliency in Central and South Florida, updating the Central and Southern Florida Project. The bill specifically requires a summary of the findings in the district's annual sea level rise and flood resiliency plan, a list of structures that are expected to fall below the expected service level in the next five years, and initial recommendations for the refurbishment or replacement of the structures identified in the bill. The Senate companion SB 1326 was filed by Sen. A. Rodriguez (R-Doral).|
The Central and Southern Florida Project passed the U.S. Congress in 1948 to manage water in South Florida, the Everglades, and Lake Okeechobee to address flooding and droughts. The responsible lead agency is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District. The responsible cooperating agencies are: the South Florida Water Management District, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, among others.
With sea level rise and flooding becoming increasingly problematic in Florida, this project is meant to protect 11 million Floridians, their environment, and their economy. Many of the gates that control movement of water through the system are antiquated and in need of repair, especially those at the coast. Some of these gates are barely operable now and are expected to fail by 2030. This bill is timely and if passed will complement the SFWMD’s resiliency planning efforts.
Audubon Florida supports this bill.