Aerial view of Punta Gorda, Florida showing densely packed neighborhoods surrounded by water.
Punta Gorda, Florida Low-lying neighborhoods surrounded by water are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. © Carlton Ward Jr.

Newsroom

Florida Legislature Establishes the Resilient Florida Program

New program provides the tools and funding to reduce climate change impacts and promotes nature-based solutions to reduce flood risk.

Today, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 1954. This comprehensive legislation will ensure a coordinated approach to Florida’s coastal and inland resiliency. The bill’s passage is historic and it represents the largest investment in the state’s history – over $640 million – to support efforts to ensure state and local communities are prepared to deal with the impacts of sea level rise, intensified storms and flooding.   

The new program will enhance our efforts to protect our inland waterways, coastlines, shores and coral reefs, which serve as invaluable natural defenses against sea level rise. It requires the development of the Comprehensive Statewide Flood Vulnerability and Sea Level Rise Data Set, led by the State of Florida's Chief Science Officer. Additionally, it facilitates the development of statewide sea level rise projections and other data necessary to determine the risks to inland and coastal communities.
 
This bill authorizes local governments to develop Regional Resilience Coalitions to allow communities to join in resilience planning efforts and share technical assistance. It also creates the Florida Flood Hub for Applied Research and Innovation at the University of South Florida to coordinate efforts between the academic and research institutions of Florida. 

Temperince Morgan, TNC Florida Executive Director
Temperince Morgan TNC Florida Executive Director © Eric Morgan

“With the Resilient Florida program, Florida will now have tools and funding to reduce the impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and flooding to people, and critical assets including shorelines and conservation lands, while we strive to achieve our longer-term goals of reduced greenhouse gas emissions to tackle the source of climate change.  Importantly, this bill promotes the use of nature-based solutions to reduce flood risk and authorizes funding for regional climate/resilience collaboratives to allow communities to join in resilience planning efforts and share technical assistance. The Nature Conservancy works hand-in-hand with the state’s climate/resilience coalitions in developing strategies to strengthen community resilience.

Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have made their focus on conservation and support for the environment a priority, through the allocation of significant funding to programs that are critical to a sustainable future for our state and our health and well-being.  Thanks to the positive strides taken by Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature, conservation in our state continues to move in a productive direction.”

—Temperince Morgan, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Florida

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries and territories: 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.