Over 100 environmental projects to receive more than $400 million in state grants
More than 100 environmental projects will receive over $400 million in total funding through the Resilient Florida Grant Program, which was approved by the state legislature and governor last year. The grants are designed to provide a unified, statewide approach to helping coastal and inland communities better prepare and improve resiliency against the impacts of sea-level rise, intensified storms, storm surge and flooding.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the grant recipients Tuesday with House Speaker Chris Sprowls, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Shawn Hamilton, Chief Resilience Officer Dr. Wes Brooks, and other stakeholders at news conferences in Pinellas and Miami-Dade counties.
“Today’s record investment, as well as the projects included in the statewide plan for future funding, will strengthen our infrastructure to withstand the impacts of flooding and storm surge,” DeSantis said. “For the first time ever, Florida has strategic coordination of statewide efforts to protect our coastal and inland infrastructure, and the dedicated funding to support these projects.”
Sea level rise and flooding impacts home insurance rates, businesses and communities, Sprowls said. “When I took office as Speaker, I knew we needed to approach this problem in a different and innovative way,” he said. “That is why we passed the Always Ready bill, carried by Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera, giving our flooding and resiliency issues a long-term vision and plan, for the first time ever, to prepare Florida today for the challenges of tomorrow.”
Senate President Wilton Simpson said Florida is leading the nation in resiliency efforts.
“Our state has elevated flood mitigation as a critical part of Florida’s public safety infrastructure with responsible, comprehensive planning that will benefit generations of Floridians to come,” he added.
DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton said the projects “will reduce the economic and environmental challenges associated with sea level rise, flooding, and storm events, ensuring the safety and resilience of Florida communities.”
In his proposed fiscal year 2022 budget, DeSantis recommended the legislature create the Resilient Florida Grant Program to better prepare communities for the impacts of sea level rise and flooding. The Legislature passed SB1954, which the governor signed into law. For the first time in state history, Florida now has a coordinated approach to its coastal and inland resilience efforts.
Florida’s fiscal 2022 budget allocates the largest amount for resiliency efforts in state history of over $640 million.
Last month, the governor announced the state’s first Flooding Resilience Plan, which identified 76 projects statewide totaling over $270 million, subject to appropriation. The DEP published a list of approved projects for its 2022-23 statewide resilience plan. It includes projected costs, estimated funding requests, and funding levels for up to three years for each project by county.
The governor also created the Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection within DEP last year to oversee and allocate plan funding, provide technical assistance, and coordinate among state, regional, and local entities on resiliency efforts.
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