South Florida is no stranger to sea level rise. We see it during tidal flooding in Miami Beach, in the saltwater intrusion of water sources in Broward County, and in beach erosion in Dania Beach. We need solutions now, and not just bandaids, but community buy-in and action. That’s where UnderwaterFLA comes in.
This week the Florida Department of Environmental Protection granted $1.6 million in funding for 30 coastal communities in 17 Florida counties. DEP’s Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection is using these grants as a way to assist coastal communities with resilience planning and funding, developing vulnerability assessments, adaptation plans, comprehensive plan goals, policies, and regional coordination.
Discussions about the impacts of sea level rise have increased across the state, creating a sense of emergency for some communities. But for others that have been dealing with the threat of sea level rise for years, the hope is that coastal resiliency the funds will be used responsibly.
Impacted communities are getting involved by forming local groups and sharing resources. UnderwaterFLA began as a participatory art project seeking to organize homeowners around the issue of sea level rise. Our first installation with the Village of Pinecrest has been incredibly successful in bringing together the community with a united voice. To meet more Floridian’s needs, Underwater HOA has expanded into Underwater FLA, a program that includes everyone, regardless of homeownership. Underwater FLA will organize communities around the issue of sea level rise, and will also engage at the local and state level, and the business community.
Sea levels have risen 8 inches since 1950 and it is estimated that more than 120,000 properties in the state are at risk of frequent tidal flooding. Sea level rise is a visible threat to our state and one that will require well beyond $1.6 million to fix.
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