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Department of Environmental Protection Asks Florida Communities To Assess Their Sea-Level Rise Risk

Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse in  Hillsboro Beach, Florida, USA near Fort Lauderdale
Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse in Hillsboro Beach, Florida, USA near Fort Lauderdale

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says local governments need to know their risk for sea-level rise. Some agencies are already making their own projections. The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact estimates by 2040; seas will rise in some South Florida communities by more than three feet.

"We've been challenged with issues of sea-level rise for more than a decade. It's just been a very hot topic the last 15 or so years," says Jennifer Jurado. She's Broward County's Chief Resiliency Officer and represented the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact during a meeting today with lawmakers.

Randy Deshazo is Director of Planning and Research at the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. He says the area has seen 8 inches of sea-level rise since 1946.

"The projections that we are using assume sea-level rise about 2.5 feet by 2045 up to 3.5 feet by 2060; this puts a lot of our critical infrastructure under threat," Deshazo says.

Noah Valenstein heads the state's Department of Environmental Protection. He says the governor's proposed Resilient Florida Program earmarks funds to help address those concerns.

"The state with the governor's leadership is already ready to look at how do we take those plans, and with state assistant help local governments put them to action," Valenstein says.

The Resilient Florida Program would give a billion dollars over four years to resiliency projects. State and local governments could apply for grants to help reduce the impacts of sea-level rise, storms, and flooding.

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