Story, History, & More
Resiliency Florida is a leading voice in Florida, helping communities in their efforts to plan and adapt for the future impacts of weather and sea level rise. All communities in Florida face weather resiliency challenges, whether coastal or inland, and will benefit from resiliency planning.
Resiliency Florida is a non-profit organization made up of public and private partners dedicated to promoting the development of state and regional strategies and action plans to adapt to extreme weather and sea level rise, and to advocating for increased investment by the state and federal government in critical infrastructure and habitat throughout Florida to mitigate impacts and develop adaptation responses.
“We are a leading voice in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. in efforts to plan and adapt for the future impacts of weather and sea level rise.”
The mission of Resiliency Florida is to act as a conduit for developing local government and private sector partnerships to secure funding and regulatory and legislative support for resiliency and adaptation strategies at the state and federal levels. Through a diverse membership including cities, counties and the private sector, Resiliency Florida promotes the exchange of ideas and resources to help our communities become more prepared and resilient to face sea level rise, extreme weather, flooding and other broader challenges stemming from climate change. Our focus is the collaborative development of tools, projects and funding to implement these strategies. The strength of the organization is a results-oriented approach to facing these challenges.
Key Areas of Focus
When dealing with such a broad issue and important issue, we have chosen to focus on key areas that can have the most impact and result in the biggest change.
The concept of risk assessment is not new to local government. Most municipalities and counties already have risk management systems in place and may even have designated staff dedicated to risk assessment and management.
Risk assessments can assist local governments in identifying and assessing the risks that climate change poses to their assets, operations and services as well as to help prioritize risks that require further action as a basis for decision-making and adaptation planning and funding solutions.
Risk assessments aim to ensure that municipal systems will be resilient and analyze the risks posed by extreme weather and sea level rise and help develop holistic strategies for addressing them.
Mitigation for this growing threat requires a community wide response through aggressive adaptation strategies, starting with revisions and updates to building and land development codes. With a focus on evaluating minimum building finish floor elevations (BFE). Starting with the 2010 edition, the Florida Building Code (FBC) includes flood provisions that are consistent with the NFIP requirements for buildings and structures. All counties, cities and towns are required to enforce the FBC. Many Florida communities enforce some “higher standards” than those required by the FBC.
The National Flood Protection Insurance Program (NFIP) allows property owners in participating communities to buy insurance to protect against flood losses. Participating communities are required to establish management regulations in order to reduce future flood damages. This insurance is intended to furnish as an insurance alternative to disaster assistance and reduces the rising costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by flood. A homeowner is able to purchase excess flood insurance, but they must be covered by NFIP flood insurance first. Information detailing how to obtain flood insurance can be found at www.floodsmart.org, the official site of the NFIP.
The current NFIP reauthorization expires on September 30, 2017 and Congress will be considering potential changes and improvements to the program as part of the reauthorization process. Congress faces the challenge of trying to maintain a balance between improving the financial solvency of the program and reducing taxpayer exposure while also being mindful of affordability concerns.
Cities and Counties are encouraged to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System (CRS). Property owners could qualify for a flood insurance discounts of between 5% and 45% if the property is in the Special Flood Hazard Area. Communities that participate in the CRS program may also have elevation certificates on file for individual homes or businesses.
Per Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) White Paper: Financing the Resilient City: A demand driven approach to development, disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation.
Specific financing instruments could be designed to create diversified, scaled pools for investment.
The instruments could each be tailored to a targeted class of measures that share a similar risk-reward profile. The instruments might take the form of portfolio-based loans, catastrophe bonds, re-insurance, securitization, or other structured finance instruments. In this way, much larger private capital flows could be sourced for adaptation and other kinds of disaster risk reduction. To lead this kind of financial innovation and the development of such an investment market for resilience measures the report proposes that international adaptation funds, or similar national-level funds or programs, could be very effectively leveraged by focusing on three areas. These are:
- Funding for local, national, and international initiatives to ‘mainstream’ new resilience standards into conventional urban development projects, much as recent ‘green building’ standards have been mainstreamed into urban development and construction over the last decade.
- Funding for local planning and project preparation, including financial structuring for comprehensive resilience upgrading projects in known highly vulnerable urban areas and systems.
- Funding for financial product innovation for creating scalable private investment flows into global resilience upgrading.
2019 Legislative Wrap-up (June Leg)
Every session has its own personality. Sometimes they are dominated by a recent event or at times they become an echo to the national political discourse. This year it was both! The impact of Hurricane Michael, a summer of unprecedented water quality impacts, and a growing political schism on other matters drowned the optimism emanating from the gubernatorial elections. For his part, Governor DeSantis set a course for the state with sweeping policy initiatives relating to environmental protection and other issues.
Both chambers heard testimony regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Michael and again considered proposals aimed at addressing the state’s emergency preparation and response capacity. Significant funding was allocated hard hit areas of the state.
Similarly, the blue-green algae and red tide events of 2019, which resulted in beach closures, focused the attention of policy makers on the contributing causes to the naturally occurring phenomena made worse by water quality degradation and ways to mitigate or reduce the number and duration of future occurrences. Much of this debate led to a realization that additional information is needed to address these issues leading the Governor to propose the creation of advisory committees and additional water quality funding.
Although no bills specifically related to resiliency passed, record funding was provided to continue and expand programs aimed at providing local governments with funding to undertake vulnerability assessments and implement resiliency projects. Despite this success, significant work remains to secure meaningful funding.
Among this administration’s victories was securing the full funding for the new Office of Resiliency and Coastal Protection and the new State Resiliency Officer. Many qualified candidates applied, but no one has been announced yet. The combination of this new office and the new Chief Science Officer position should provide a fertile environment for the development and promotion of science-based resiliency initiatives.
2018 Legislative Wrap-up
Even for long time practitioners engaged in the legislative process this year was truly without compare. From the scandal riddled beginning to the tragic events in Parkland Florida, this session will be among the most historic ever. Despite being overshadowed by these events both chambers managed to not lose sight of the significant deficiencies in the state’s preparation and ability to respond to severe storm events like those experienced in 2017. Both chambers convened committee’s to hear testimony from public officials and private individual regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, and developed legislative proposals aimed at addressing the state’s emergency preparation and response capacity. Significant funding was allocated towards the hardest hit areas of the state which are still attempting to recover from those impacts.
With regard to resiliency, the State took a significant step forward as the Legislature approved and funded the Florida Resilient Coastline Initiative. The $2.6 million allocated for this new program will be administered by DEP and will be for grants to assist local governments with storm resiliency, sea level rise planning, coastal resilience projects.
Additional funds in the natural resources area related to impacts associated with changing environmental conditions include,
Florida Forever – $100.8, including:
State Lands – DEP Land Acquisition – $72.0 million
Florida Keys Area of Critical State Concern Land Acq.- $5 million
Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts – $2 million
Florida Keys Area of Critical State Concern – Water Quality $5.0 million
Beach Management Funding Assistance – $50 million
Hurricane Recovery Beach Projects – $11.2 million
Herbert Hoover Dike Repair – $50 million
Local Water Projects (many of which relate to flood or stormwater control) – $31 million
Looking ahead Resiliency Florida will work to build upon the significant progress made this year. Issues that have already been identified for future sessions include: Increasing the funding for the Florida Resilient Coastal Initiative, amendments to the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) statutes to strengthen consumer protection and potentially expand the use of this financing mechanism to include domestic and commercial property hardening, and the use of reclaimed water for the protection of coastal wellfields.
Resiliency Florida would like to thank all the members that provided input during the legislative session and look forward to working with the Technical Advisory Committee this summer and fall to identify other statutory changes which will promote community resiliency throughout the State.