On Tuesday, May 3, 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 Science 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.”
The mission of the Pensacola & Perdido Bays Estuary Program is to restore and protect the Pensacola and Perdido Bay watersheds through restoration, education, and unbiased monitoring of the health of our bays, estuaries, and watersheds.
The Pensacola and Perdido Bays Estuary Program serves as a trusted source for residents, businesses, industry, and the community on issues relating to preserving, restoring, improving, and maintaining the natural habitat and ecosystem of the bays, estuaries and watersheds of Pensacola and Perdido Bays. PPBEP strives to achieve a healthy and collaborative environment by:
1. Elevating and increasing the importance, awareness and understanding of environmental quality.
2. Employing rigorous, unbiased, and scientifically sound science to inform and guide decisions, policies, and initiatives.
3. Funding programs and projects that protect the environment, increase ecological resilience
4. Building a network of inclusive, multi-stakeholder partnerships that takes into account factors affecting the environment, the economy, and the community-at-large for the benefit of improving the quality of life for all.