At an event in Fort Myers Beach this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the award of grants totaling almost $20 million in state funds (FY 2021-22) for the Resilient Florida Program Planning Grants.
This funding will support 98 awards to develop or update comprehensive vulnerability assessments in inland and coastal communities. The list of projects awarded can be found here.
Additionally, DeSantis announced that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has opened the application portal for Resilient Florida Planning Grants for Fiscal Year 2022-23. The application portal can be found here.
“For the first time, Florida has strategic coordination guiding statewide efforts to protect coastal and inland infrastructure, and dedicated funding to support these projects,” said DeSantis. “These grants will strengthen Florida’s infrastructure to withstand the impacts of flooding and storm surge. My administration will continue the momentum to support resilience in communities across the state.”
Vulnerability assessments are required to assess and identify critical infrastructure at risk of flooding from sea-level rise, storm surge and rainfall events. The assessments assist local communities in prioritizing and developing implementation strategies and projects designed to reduce, alleviate or mitigate the effects of flooding.
“Today is another example of the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the Florida Legislature, and local governments in action across our state to tackle resilience,” said DEP Sec. Shawn Hamilton. “These planning grants will provide critical information to better enhance and protect critical infrastructure from the impacts of sea level rise, flooding and storm events, ensuring the safety and resilience of Florida communities.”
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-2022 budget included funding to support the most significant investment in the state’s history — more than $640 million — to increase efforts to ensure state and local communities are prepared to deal with the impacts of sea-level rise, intensified storms and flooding. The governor’s announcement follows the award of grants totaling over $404 million for 113 environmental resilience projects across the state, earlier this year.
“Today’s announcement of $20 million in Resilient Florida Planning Grants represents the ongoing fulfillment of the commitment that our governor and the Legislature have made to ensure that all of Florida’s communities have access to the tools and resources necessary to build a resilient future,” said state Chief Resilience Officer Dr. Wes Brooks. “Because of the state-supported assessments to be derived from these awards, Floridians can be confident that future investments towards flood resilience efforts in these communities will be based on the best available science and risk modeling. And Florida will continue to lead on resilience through action.”
“Governor Ron DeSantis continues to lead Florida into a more resilient future,” said Chauncey Goss, the chairman of the South Florida Water Management District. “As the operator of one of the world’s largest and most complex water management systems, we appreciate the governor’s leadership and his continued investment in resilient solutions that further protect our communities from flooding while improving Florida’s water management systems. This is what ‘doing more now’ looks like.”
“Living and leading in a state that’s surrounded by water comes with the great responsibility of protecting our communities from the risk of flooding and sea-level rise,” said state House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor. “Today we are doubling down on this commitment first established by last year’s ‘Always Ready’ legislation and investing resources in state and local resiliency efforts. I commend Representative Busatta Cabrera for being such a great champion for this key issue for the past two years, and I thank Governor DeSantis for his support and commitment to protecting Florida’s environment. Our efforts to protect Florida today will pave the way for a more prosperous one for our children tomorrow.”
In his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22, DeSantis recommended the creation of the Resilient Florida Grant Program to help prepare communities for the impacts of sea-level rise and flooding. The Legislature responded by passing a bill that was signed into law by DeSantis. As a result, for the first time ever, the state has a coordinated approach to Florida’s coastal and inland resilience and provides a structure for resilience projects to follow the best available science and data while enhancing efforts to protect inland and coastal resources that act as natural defenses against sea-level rise.
In December, DeSantis announced the state’s first-ever Flooding Resilience Plan which proposes 76 projects across the state totaling over $270 million, which was fully funded during the 2022 legislative session. DEP accepted applications through their online portal through September 1, 2021. A list of projects in the plan can be found here.
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