DeSantis proposes Florida’s first-ever flooding resilience plan

By Bethany Blankley
The Center Square
December 10, 2021

The Florida Legislature and Gov.Ron DeSantis have proposed another first for Florida, this time a “Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan,” the first of its kind in state history.

The governor announced the plan on Wednesday with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton, Chief Resilience Officer Dr. Wes Brooks, and other stakeholders, emphasizing a new effort to protect Florida’s coastal and inland communities.

While Florida often is struck by hurricanes, it’s also susceptible to regular flooding since it’s a low-lying state surrounded by water on three sides. The legislature passed a bill earlier this year to address this in an attempt to minimize the impact of flooding from sea-level rises by enhancing protections for inland waterways, coastlines, shores and coral reefs. DeSantis signed the bill into law and approved funding for the projects in the state budget.

Included in the state’s FY2021-2022 budget is more than $640 million of state and federal funding allocated to preventative measures related to sea-level rise, intensified storms and flooding.

The goal is to support infrastructure for clean and strong waterways “to make communities across Florida more resilient,” DeSantis said. “We are a low-lying state, a storm prone state, and a flood prone state. In the last legislative session, we worked with Speaker [Chris] Sprowls, President [Wilton] Simpson, and the rest of the legislature to address this issue in a way that will protect Florida communities and protect our economic livelihood.”

Part of the allocation includes $270 million to fund 76 projects that were identified by local communities as being particularly vulnerable. The projects will be partially funded through matching local investments as part of a three-year plan.

The projects, listed by county, include approximate total costs, estimated requested funding, and funding for each year over three years. The most expensive projected costs are for one project in Miami Dade County: the First Street Flood Mitigation and Sea Level Rise Adaptation plan, totaling $67,034,197.

The next most expensive project is the Tropic Isle Roadway and Underground Utility Improvements project in Palm Beach County expected to cost $39.6 million. Not far behind in cost is the Indian River Sebastian River Improvement District Treatment and Storage project totaling $38 million. The least expensive project, Brevard Crystal Lakes Impoundment Breakwater and Living Shoreline project, is expected to cost $61,544.

“I have often said we aren’t simply inheriting our environment from our parents, we are borrowing it from our children,” Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez said in a statement supporting the plan.

She added that it’s a long-term strategy that “will help reduce the impacts of storm surge flooding and rising seas while protecting Florida’s coastal and inland communities. In Florida, our environment and economy are inextricably linked, and our administration will continue its commitment to resiliency so that future generations can enjoy our most treasured resources.”

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Robert S. Warner, Jr.
Robert S. Warner, Jr. (@guest_63346)
2 years ago

Save South Florida real estate investment at all cost. FEMA might disagree.

Barnes Moore
Barnes Moore(@barnes-moore)
2 years ago

For once, a sensible plan to adapt to a continuously changing climate as opposed to attempting to mitigate through co2 reduction campaigns that will do nothing to stop the climate from changing.

Robert Warner
Robert Warner (@guest_63365)
2 years ago