| Committee Meeting Underscores Importance of Resilience Planning|
|This week the House State Affairs Committee listened to presentations about flooding and sea level rise in Florida, and the current and future resilience planning that is needed to meet this threat. |
- Secretary Noah Valenstein, head of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the state's interim chief resilience officer, discussed Florida’s Sea Level Rise Impact Projection (SLIP) study, which requires state-financed construction in coastal areas to undergo assessments that determine how they will be impacted by sea level rise. He emphasized that sea level rise is one climate change impact among many that Florida faces; others include intensified storms, wave action, storm surge, nuisance flooding, and habitat squeeze (as habitats like seagrass beds or marsh get caught between rising seas and development or other geographical barriers).
Secretary Valenstein underscored that resilience is a lens through which all planning and decisions must be made.
- Jennifer Jurado, Ph.D., Chief Resilience Officer for Broward County, discussed Broward County’s progress on resilience planning. She updated the committee on the Southeast Florida Climate Compact’s newest unified sea level rise projection, a series of Future Conditions Maps that take into account groundwater elevation, updated elevation requirements for sea walls and tidal barriers, updated flood maps, and a county-wide resilient infrastructure and redevelopment plan. Importantly, she stressed that robust resilience planning is necessary to be able to demonstrate that Broward County is a good place for investment and that all of Florida needs to be able to illustrate to investors that there is a plan to mitigate future climate impacts.
The Southeast Florida Climate Compact has collaborated with the business community and recently published a report, “The Business Case for Resilience,” that demonstrates the significant return on structural level and infrastructural resilience investments. Dr. Jurado stressed the need for additional technical and financial support from the state and from the federal government to meet their goals.
- Randy Deshazo, Director of Planning and Research at the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, offered key takeaways from a soon-to-be-published study, “Taking Stock.” The study illustrates the economic impact of climate change in the Tampa Bay Region under a high emissions scenario (including $6.6 billion worth of property that will be 100% inundated by 2060, and a regional GDP loss of -1.3%). Deshazo also shared local planning efforts to address transportation and housing resilience, such as the Resilience & Energy Assessment of Communities and Housing (REACH Assessment), to help local governments plan for vulnerability in low income communities. Finally, he discussed the regional action plan currently in development by the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition.