Ron DeSantis Touts Florida’s First Statewide Flooding Resilience Plan

This week, Gov. Ron DeSantis launched Florida’s first Statewide Flooding Resilience Plan.

DeSantis paired up with Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Sec. Shawn Hamilton and state Chief Resilience Officer Dr. Wes Brooks to announced the plan.

“The plan consists of a list of projects that will enhance Florida’s efforts to protect inland waterways, coastlines, shores, and coral reefs, which are invaluable natural defenses against sea-level rise and flooding. The plan is part of Senate Bill 1954, signed by Governor DeSantis earlier this year, which ensures a coordinated approach to Florida’s coastal and inland resilience and provides a structure for resilience that follows the best available science and data while enhancing efforts to protect inland and coastal resources that act as natural defenses against sea-level rise,” the governor’s office announced.”

“We have done a lot to support Florida water resources and we know infrastructure for clean and strong waterways is important,” said DeSantis. “We also want to fortify infrastructure to make communities across Florida more resilient. We are a low-lying state, a storm-prone state, and a flood-prone state. In the last legislative session, we worked with Speaker Sprowls, President Simpson, and the rest of the legislature to address this issue in a way that will protect Florida communities and protect our economic livelihood. I am happy to propose 76 projects totaling over $270 million across the state of Florida, which will be matched by local investments as part of a three-year plan to address community-identified vulnerabilities.”

“I have often said we aren’t simply inheriting our environment from our parents, we are borrowing it from our children,” said Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez. “I applaud Governor DeSantis and the Department of Environmental Protection for its Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan — 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.”

The leaders of the Florida Legislature weighed in on the plan which came about through legislation championed by state Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Ft. Myers, and state Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera, R-Coral Gables.

“With 35 coastal counties containing the majority of our population and economy, our risks are only going to increase with time,” said state Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Tribly. “I’m grateful to Governor DeSantis and Speaker Sprowls for their vision and leadership in elevating flood mitigation as a critical part of Florida’s public safety infrastructure. Strategic planning and key investments made today will have a tremendous benefit for future generations of Floridians.”

“As a low-lying state that is surrounded by water on three sides, Florida is particularly vulnerable to the risks of flooding; for too long, we’ve been reactionary in our response,” said state House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor. “With our ‘Always Ready’ legislation signed into law and the first preliminary plan delivered today, Florida is going to be strategic, proactive and a leader among all other states in our response. I am pleased we were able to reach this first milestone and commend the governor for his partnership and good work on this plan.”

“I’m grateful for another critical step forward in resilience efforts as a consequence of Governor DeSantis and the Florida legislature’s commitment,” said Hamilton. “This plan fosters the collaboration required to properly solve the state’s most difficult resilience concerns. It will allow us to continue our aggressive efforts to protect Florida’s natural resources, as well as the recreational and tourism-based economies of our coastal communities.”

“The Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan will serve as a critical framework for statewide efforts to safeguard our wealth of natural resources and coastal infrastructure,” said Wes Brooks. “This plan offers a meaningful way forward to begin preserving Floridians’ quality of life in communities across our state well into the future.”

The budget passed earlier this year included more than $640 million in federal and state funds “to support efforts to ensure state and local communities are prepared to deal with the impacts of sea-level rise, intensified storms, and flooding” with plans for a total of $270 million to fund 76 projects over the next three years.

Kevin Derby
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