DEP Bulletin, June 19, 2019

SARASOTA, Fla. – Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein joined local officials for an opening ceremony at the Boulevard of the Arts living shoreline restoration project in Sarasota.

“This is an exciting time for the state of Florida in addressing coastal resiliency,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “I am happy to be here to celebrate this important project that will protect water quality and increase shoreline resiliency along Sarasota Bay.”

The city of Sarasota has 328 feet of bayfront shoreline that has severe erosion, resulting in significant loss of public property and threatening to affect a nearby private property.

DEP’s Florida Resilient Coastlines Program (FRCP) is specifically designed to assist local governments with resilience planning and funding assistance to implement those plans. Resilience Planning Grants provide financial assistance to aid Florida communities in preparing for current and future effects of rising sea levels, including coastal flooding, erosion and ecosystem changes.

Through this program, DEP awarded the city of Sarasota $187,972 to use nature-based infrastructure to enhance and strengthen the shoreline along Sarasota Bay. Project funds were used to increase shoreline resiliency along Sarasota Bay by removing a degraded seawall and replacing it with a softer, sloped riprap design and to restore a living shoreline and breakwater. This is the first phase of a years-long city initiative to transform a 53-acre site into a more inclusive and welcoming community waterfront destination.

“FRCP is excited to help the City of Sarasota implement their Climate Adaptation Plan,” said Whitney Gray, FRCP administrator. “This project will demonstrate to all, the value of natural infrastructure, providing erosion control using the available natural resources.”

“The living shoreline project provides a great opportunity to educate future our citizens and park visitors on the function and benefit of softened and living shorelines within climate adaptation, habitat creation and erosion prevention,” said Stevie Freeman-Montes, sustainability manager for the city of Sarasota.

Upon taking office, Governor DeSantis signed Executive Order 19-12, which outlined bold and historic steps forward for Florida’s environment, a primary focus of which is coastal resiliency As a result of Governor DeSantis’ leadership and the support of the Florida Legislature, DEP expects to have $5.5 million to enhance the state’s coastal resiliency efforts and help other communities just like Sarasota.

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