Legislation expanding sea-level rise impact study requirements is set for a third reading in the House and then a likely journey over to the Senate.
The bill (HB 111) directs the Resilient Florida Grant Program to provide money for local governments to conduct feasibility studies and cover permitting costs for nature-based solutions to the impact of flooding and sea-level rise.
Public entities currently have to conduct a sea-level impact projection study (SLIP) before beginning construction on state-financed coastal structures.
“Given the fact that the broad threat of sea-level rise to Florida goes beyond just the coastal areas, this bill requires that sea-level impact projection studies are done on any publicly financed infrastructure projects deemed to be at-risk due to sea-level rise,” Parkland Democratic Rep. Christine Hunschofsky said.
That covers historical and cultural assets, along with critical assets as defined in state law, which covers a vast amount of government facilities and areas of responsibility.
“This will ensure that the impacts of flooding will be taken into account prior to any construction using public funds, and making sure public funds are used as wisely as possible,” Hunschofsky said.
“This bill will also allow feasibility studies and the cost of permitting for nature-based solutions as a qualifying use for planning grants under the Resilient Florida program.”
It additionally expands funding to cover water management districts’ efforts supporting local government adaptation planning.
“The bill defines an ‘area at risk due to sea-level rise’ as any location that is projected to be below the threshold for tidal flooding within the next 50 years by adding (sea-level rise) using the highest of two local (sea-level rise) scenarios, which must include the 2017 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) intermediate-low and intermediate-high (sea-level rise) projections,” according to a House staff analysis.
House members asked no questions and offered no amendments as the bill rolled over to third reading.