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Summary of State Agency Action

The Adaptation Chapter of Florida’s Climate Change Action Plan (“Action Plan”) includes 28 goals with strategies for addressing impacts to infrastructure, biodiversity, and coasts and oceans. Others relate to the economy, insurance, research, and education and outreach. This page describes some of the progress Florida agencies are achieving related to each of these sectors.  

Agriculture

Florida’s Action Plan does not include any specific goals or actions relating to the Agriculture sector.

Biodiversity

Florida’s Action Plan includes multiple goals relating to biodiversity, wildlife, and habitats. It recommends managing ecosystems for resiliency, ensuring that representative ecosystems and habitat corridors are protected, and improving assessments to understand the species and habitats most vulnerable to climate change.

The state has made efforts to improve coastal and land-based ecosystem and habitat resilience. For example, Florida’s 2012 State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) included a vulnerability assessment of six focal species and adaptation recommendations for improving management of species and habitats vulnerable to climate change. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has also improved species and habitat monitoring systems in order to inform adaptive management efforts, as part of Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative. In spring 2018, the state produced a draft of its 2018 SWAP update, which integrates discussion of climate change impacts throughout sections on different ecosystems and habitats within the state, and identifies specific actions to improve assessments and management of habitats and species in light of threats from climate change.

 

Coasts & Oceans

Several goals in Florida’s Action Plan recommend actions to improve coastal and ocean resilience, to benefit both ecosystems and communities, through improved scientific research and monitoring, beach and coastal management, and land-use regulation of development in coastal areas.

In implementing research goals, the Florida Oceans and Coastal Council, which was created by state legislation in 2005, has produced annual ocean and coastal research plans, which have prioritized climate change in more recent years. The Florida Reef Resilience Program (a collaborative effort involving the State of Florida — particularly the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The Nature Conservancy, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority) developed the Climate Change Action Plan for the Florida Reef System 2010-2015. The reef system plan identifies priorities and specific actions for enhancing the resilience of the Florida Reef system to the impacts of climate change. Additionally, Florida’s Coral Reef Conservation Program has recognized in its Strategic Plan the importance of improving the understanding of climate change impacts to reefs and managing reef areas to maximize their resilience.

The state has also taken steps to improve local coastal planning and development and encourage considerations of sea-level rise by developing new coastal planning requirements and optional “adaptation action area” designations.

Forestry

Florida’s Action Plan does not include any specific goals or actions relating to the Forestry sector.

Infrastructure

Many goals in Florida’s Action Plan relate to improving the resilience of communities, infrastructure, and the built environment. In particular, the plan puts an emphasis on opportunities to modify insurance provisions, provide state funding and financing, create climate-focused professional education requirements, and update building codes to account for hazards exacerbated by climate change. The Action Plan also recommends discouraging future reliance on shoreline hardening for beach and estuarine stabilization.

While little data is available to gauge progress in many of these areas, Florida has encouraged greater infrastructure resilience through a variety of planning tools and requirements. The Florida Department of Transportation funded studies and the development of a sea-level rise planning tool to help transportation planners visualize transportation infrastructure that is potentially vulnerable to future flooding. Under SB 1094 (2015), the state now also requires local coastal jurisdictions to identify development strategies and engineering solutions that can reduce risks from tidal flooding, storm surge, stormwater-driven flooding, and related impacts of sea-level rise when updating coastal management elements of their comprehensive plans. Florida’s 2013 Enhanced State Hazard Mitigation Plan discusses climate change in the context of hazard profiles, and includes a compendium (Appendix K) of existing resources and best practices for addressing sea-level rise. Florida also amended laws related to property insurance in 2013, with SB 1770, reducing over time the number of vulnerable properties eligible for insurance from the state-run property insurance provider.

Public Health & 

Emergency Preparedness

Florida’s Action Plan recommends actions to reduce public health threats from climate change and to address issues of social justice in adaptation efforts, including food, water, and housing security.

As an example of the state’s work to implement these goals, the Florida Department of Health has partnered with Florida State University and others in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) “Building Resilience Against Climate Effects” (BRACE) program, which involves assessing the future impacts of climate change on public health in Florida, and incorporating those findings into planning and decisionmaking in order to help reduce negative health outcomes. The Florida BRACE program has produced a climate-sensitive hazard assessment looking at seven hazards: hurricane winds, storm surge, flash flooding, sea-level rise, extreme heat, drought, and wildland fire. Although the plan does not specifically address climate change, Florida’s State Health Improvement Plan (2017-2021) includes health equity as its first “priority issue,” recognizing a need to work harder to reduce health disparities. One of the strategies identified is to promote fiscal, environmental, and policy approaches that increase affordable housing, food access, and physical activity through community design.

 

Water

Florida’s Action Plan recognizes the impacts that climate change is likely to have on the state’s water resources, due to changing rainfall patterns and effects of saltwater intrusion. It recommends improving conservation measures and efforts to understand, quantify, and plan for uncertainties affecting water resources.

To further implementation of these goals, the state has pursued the following initiatives: The Florida Oceans and Coastal Council has prepared reports on the effects of climate change and sea-level rise on Florida, discussing threats to coastal water supply and wastewater treatment from sea-level rise, saltwater intrusion, and increased water withdrawals. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is also developing policies relating to statewide water resource management and conservation. For example, the Water Reuse Program promotes the reuse of reclaimed water. At the regional level, water management districts have been working to assess and incorporate impacts of climate change in water supply planning. For example, the Central Florida Water Initiative partnered with three water management districts — South Florida, St. Johns River, and Southwest Florida — and in 2014 developed a regional water supply plan for central Florida that discussed climate change impacts and managing uncertainty in the context of water supply planning. Florida DEP asked water management districts to address climate change in water supply plans in 2010-2011.


(Research last updated: July 8, 2018).

 
 
 
 

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