DEP Hosts 2019 Resilient Florida: Planning, Policy and Practice Workshop

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DEP Hosts 2019 Resilient Florida: Planning, Policy and Practice Workshop

~ DEP and stakeholders gather to discuss preparation tactics for sea level rise ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – DEP, in conjunction with the University of South Florida, Florida Sea Grant and the Florida Climate Institute, hosted the inaugural 2019 Resilient Florida: Planning, Policy and Practice Workshop in Tampa this week. The two-day workshop, held Aug. 8-9, 2019, brought together nearly 200 attendees, including floodplain managers, community planners, climate change adaptation professionals, natural resource managers, park managers, academic representatives and other stakeholders to discuss tactics and data that will help Florida’s coastlines prepare for the effects of sea level rise and coastal flooding.

“We are making pivotal strides in resilience efforts, and it is an exciting time to be tackling resilience in Florida under Governor DeSantis’ leadership,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “I was thrilled to see so many resiliency experts from around the state and across the nation gathered together to learn from one another and build relationships that will create the essential collaboration to successfully address the state’s most challenging resiliency issues.”

Among some of the topics discussed by experts were infrastructure, living shorelines, land acquisitions related to climate change and coastal flooding. Officials from local governments and Florida universities shared how their communities have been involved in resiliency projects, discussing various success stories. Additionally, Florida State Parks staff talked about ways they’re working in parks to plan infrastructure projects and other coastal initiatives.

Local governments, county governments, state agencies, military and citizen support organizations all play an important role in preserving's Florida's resources for future generations. 

“Florida Sea Grant is pleased to work with FDEP as it expands its support to coastal communities grappling with resiliency,” said University of Florida Levin College of Law professor and legal specialist for Florida Sea Grant Tom Ankersen. “Resilient communities and economies are one of the National Sea Grant Program’s core focus areas. We look forward to aligning Florida Sea Grant’s research to support the state’s efforts to engage local governments in proactive policy and planning around the resiliency challenge.”  

“As a state facing some of the greatest impacts of climate change, Florida has a unique opportunity to be a global leader in resiliency planning. We can either be an example of what to do, or what not to do. The choice is ours and the time is now,” said Florida Climate Institute Carolyn Cox.

Last month, DEP announced that nearly $1.6 million in grant funding has been awarded for fiscal year 2019-20 to strengthen resilience initiatives for 30 coastal communities in 17 coastal counties in Florida.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Resilient Coastlines Program is committed to marshaling resources to prepare Florida’s coastal communities and habitats for rising sea levels. Through the Florida Resilient Coastlines Program, DEP continues its efforts to ensure collaboration among Florida’s coastal communities and to offer technical assistance and funding to coastal communities dealing with increasingly complex flooding, erosion and habitat shifts.