Getting eyes on the problem everywhere is the goal of sea-level rise study legislation that passed out of the House this week without a single “no” vote.
There were no amendments and was no debate as members breezed through consideration of the measure.
“We have flooding everywhere, so what my bill does is expand that to wherever there are flooding issues or seasons,” Parkland Democratic Rep. Christine Hunschofsky said before the Legislative Session. “It’s making sure that when you are using government money to build, you’re taking into account everything and not just doing it blindly.”
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.
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.
It additionally expands funding to cover water management districts’ efforts supporting local government adaptation planning.
“Florida’s coastal communities are regularly experiencing high-tide flooding events because (sea-level rise) increases the height of high tides,” according to a House analysis.
“Analysts estimate that Florida could lose more than $300 billion in property value by 2100 due to (sea-level rise) and flooding. As sea levels and groundwater levels rise and extreme rainfall events occur, low areas drain more slowly, resulting in overwhelmed stormwater infrastructure and an increased frequency and magnitude of coastal and lowland flood events.”
An area at risk to sea-level rise, as defined in the bill, is any place expected to be below the tidal flooding threshold within the next 50 years, taking into account the highest of two local sea-level rise projections.
The bill next moves on to the Senate.