Resilient Florida hits $1B in spending since 2021 inception

There have been 263 implementation projects awarded.

Government programs sometimes end up like a dragon guarding its horde of gold, but that hasn’t been the case for Resilient Florida.

It’s only a couple years old, but the state’s program to buttress infrastructure to handle strong storms and the effects of climate change is sending out money across the state to deal with these issues that can’t wait.

“You know, you don’t want to bury the lead to your story,” the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Alex Reed told the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee this week. 

“So, here is the lead: With unanimous support, bipartisan support, of this legislation and amazing funding support from state leadership, within just two funding cycles, we’ve been able to direct nearly a billion dollars to communities statewide for implementation projects that directly address the adaptation and mitigation needed for their critical assets and their regionally significant assets.”

On top of that, the state has provided around $40 million to communities to conduct vulnerability assessments, and address efforts needed to identify critical assets and future adaptation projects. 

“I remember when the office was created, around my first year (in the Legislature), and I was really, really excited, living in one of the coastal areas myself, and now it’s starting to make sense, the long-term plan,” Homestead Democratic Rep. Kevin Chambliss said.  

Another $4 million allowed DEP to contract with regional resilience entities.  

“These (entities) are groups of communities working together to bring everyone up to the highest level, because we know that some communities have stronger administration to help with their planning efforts,” Reed said.

An additional $66 million went to other initiatives that help resilience throughout the state.

There have been 263 implementation projects awarded during the program’s first two years, including 138 project projects totaling $495 million in Fiscal Year 2021-2022. The FY 2022-2023 Statewide Resilience Plan resulted in 76 projects totaling $270 million in state funds and 49 projects totaling $189 million in federal State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

Definitions play a role here, and St. Petersburg Democratic Rep. Lindsay Cross asked Reed what the agency considers green infrastructure, and what it does not. Committee Chairman Thad Altman said he was interested in that determination, as well.

“It is a great question, and I do not have a very clear answer, I’ll be very honest with you,” Reed said. “I think we’re having to look, on a case-by-case basis, at applications that come in, because we don’t want to rule something out before we fully understand it.

“We know that living shorelines (count). We know that flushable green space counts. We know that previous structures built within an urban setting — those will work. We know that habitat restoration, coastal habitat restoration, for example, wetland restoration, we know that counts.”

She said staff prefers to have the time to analyze a process and consult experts before determining whether something rises to the standard of green infrastructure or not.

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook:


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