Regional resiliency compact aims to help SWFL adapt to climate change

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne
Published: Updated:

Leaders are working to improve Southwest Florida’s resiliency against climate change impacts while planning for a changing future, across our area.

The sun, sand, and shore are all good reasons why people live, work, and play in Southwest Florida.

So how do we make sure our slice of paradise stays intact?

Dr. Greg Tolley, the executive director of The Water School at Florida Gulf Coast University says, “This is really a regional effort to come together and leverage resources, leverage solutions, so that we’re not all each doing it alone.”

Tolley thinks the Southwest Florida Regional Resiliency Compact is exactly what we need.

The group met for the first time Friday.

“We’ve got everyone from Everglades City up to Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte involved, and everywhere everyone in-between,” Tolley added.

The big idea is this group would help communities prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change; whether those be sea-level rise, warming temperatures, or storms.

Presidential Fellow in Water Policy at FGCU, Noah Valenstein explains, “The point of Regional Climate Compact is to actually support the work of local communities and to be that that sort of foundation, or that table, that allows folks to come together and achieve more together than they could individually.”

In turn, the hope is that this show of force could also help bring state dollars to the SWFL area.

“The Florida legislature has recently passed record funding for resilience projects, but that means you have to have those projects ready,” Valenstein said. “They need to be based on sound vulnerability analyses, prepared locally by communities.”

And that work is now underway.

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