Pensacola, FL – On Tuesday, May 3rd, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the award of nearly $20 million from the Resilient Florida Grant Program to support 98 projects across the state to develop or update comprehensive vulnerability assessments in inland and coastal communities.
Included in Governor DeSantis’ announcement is the award of $687,500 to the Pensacola & Perdido Bays Estuary Program for resilience planning. The Estuary Program, working in partnership with Florida State University’s RIDER Center, will oversee development of a compound flood model to aid local governments and private landowners in capital improvement project planning and development decisions. Compound flooding, whereby two or more flooding threats occur simultaneously, is an evolving threat to Northwest Florida communities, though those threats can be managed through effective planning.
The Estuary Program will also work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to update regional rainfall data, critically important for stormwater management planning. Finally, the Estuary Program will develop an Adaptation Plan based on the results of the compound flood model scenarios and community engagement to determine priority resilience projects, policies, and initiatives that not only protect inland and coastal communities, but serve to benefit area natural resources as well.
“This is an excellent step forward to enhance the resilience of all of our communities in the Pensacola and Perdido watersheds”, said Robert Bender, Chairman of the Pensacola & Perdido Bays Estuary Program and Escambia County Commissioner. “This project will better equip us to prepare for the impacts of inland flooding and sea level rise while ensuring we are prepared for future resilience grant opportunities.”
“On behalf of the Pensacola & Perdido Bays Estuary Program, we thank Governor DeSantis, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Hamilton, and Florida Chief Resilience Officer Dr. Brooks for their support in enhancing the resilience of Northwest Florida”, said Matt Posner, Executive Director of the Pensacola & Perdido Bays Estuary Program. “Funds from the Resilient Florida Grant Program will be critical to achieve the actions identified in the Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, which includes working with our local government partners and community members to enhance the resilience of our communities from anticipated climate change impacts.”