Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Awards $275 Million to Coastal Areas to Thwart Rising Seas, Storm Surge

Following the catastrophic flooding and beach erosion that devastated Florida’s coastal cities during Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis awarded $275 million for 75 resilience projects using already-appropriated funding through the Resilient Florida program to help prepare vulnerable communities for the adverse impacts of flooding and storm surge.

In an official statement, DeSantis said “Under my administration, the state of Florida has invested an unprecedented level of funding, totaling more than $1.1 billion, to create or fortify infrastructure in Florida’s communities,” DeSantis said. “The projects announced today will ensure inland and coastal communities are prepared for the impacts of storm surge, hurricanes, and flooding, continuing our aggressive efforts to protect Florida’s natural resources and infrastructure.”

State Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, a resident of Naples, saw her hometown permanently changed by historic storm surge during Hurricane Ian. “As my own community continues to recover and rebuild from the damaging storm surge caused by Hurricane Ian, I now have an even greater appreciation for the benefits of the forward-thinking, long-term strategy for resilience planning Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have put in place here in Florida”, Passidomo said.

House Speaker Paul Renner said the program is one of multiple examples of the state’s renewed effort to improve infrastructure and prevent future damges.

“Florida’s long-term resilience strategy will strengthen our coastal communities, prepare us for future natural disasters, and prioritize long-term infrastructure needs,” Renner said. “Governor DeSantis, President Passidomo, and I are committed to helping affected communities recover from recent storms and boosting strategic investments in infrastructure for the continued growth and prosperity of our state.”

“Governor DeSantis’ bold vision for a Resilient Florida is driving progress towards safer and more productive communities in an otherwise low-lying, storm-prone state,” said Chief Resilience Officer Wes Brooks. “These awards will fund critical actions across inland and coastal areas to adapt legacy infrastructure and implement nature-based solutions that address current and projected sea level rise and flooding to minimize adverse impacts on Floridians and their families.”

According to the governor’s office, on December 1, 2022, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection submitted the second preliminary Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan to the Governor and Legislature, which proposes funding for resilience and adaptation projects received from across the state.

The Governor’s “Framework for Freedom Budget” proposal includes $406 million for resilience to build upon the historic progress made over the past two years. This recommendation includes $350 million for the implementation of statewide resilience projects and $56 million for resilience planning and coral reef protection.

Governor DeSantis recommended the creation of the Resilient Florida Grant Program to help prepare communities for the impacts of flooding and storm surge. The Legislature answered the call by passing Senate Bill 1954 in 2021, comprehensive legislation that ensures a coordinated approach to Florida coastal and inland resilience. DeSantis created the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection at DEP to provide funding, technical assistance, and coordination among state, regional, and local entities to help support Florida’s coastal communities and appointed the state’s first Chief Resilience Officer to coordinate the state’s resilience efforts.

The 75 projects can be viewed, HERE.

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