GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida Sea Grant has partnered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Coastal Management Program to fund the completion of seven Coastal Partnership Initiative grant-funded, community-based coastal projects around the state. Florida Sea Grant has committed $165,000 this year to fund these projects, which will immediately benefit access to the coast in their communities and are matched dollar-for-dollar by the communities.
“This partnership emphasizes our shared commitment for projects that have tangible, immediate and lasting benefits to coastal communities and citizens,” said Karl Havens, director of Florida Sea Grant. “The seven projects chosen to receive Florida Sea Grant funding align with our mission areas of helping to increase community resilience, increase public access to the water front and restore natural habitat.”
“The CPI grant program was developed to promote the protection and effective management of Florida’s coastal resources at the local level,” said Kevin Claridge, director of the Florida Coastal Office. “We are thrilled that Florida Sea Grant is partnering with the FCMP to assist in the completion of these vital community-focused projects.”
The projects and their individual funding amounts are:
- City of Mexico Beach, Bay County – Current channel markers associated with the marina in Mexico Beach are frequently replaced and are not made to withstand tropical storms and hurricanes. New markers will be installed that are storm resistant and also resistant to sea-level rise. This action will reduce an existing safety hazard for boaters who use the marina. It is estimated by the City that the project will boost the local economy, where this marina currently adds $1.4 million a year to local revenue ($30,000).
- City of Deerfield Beach, Broward County – The city will construct a near-shore artificial reef snorkeling trail system, located in 10 to 25 feet of water and comprised of limestone boulders placed to represent natural reef patches. The project involves deployment of the reef, development of an outreach program and monitoring the created reef both for human use and for development of marine life including corals, sponges and fish. Sea turtle presence also will be monitored, as the reef system is expected to provide turtles with enhanced habitat ($30,000).
- City of Oakland Park, Broward County – This project creates passive recreational space at the Royal Palm Natural Area, a coastal land parcel owned by the City and the Broward County School Board. It will provide trail use, educational opportunities and environmental improvements. The project provides a unique natural area within a built-up, densely populated area on the coast. The project includes removal of exotic plants, native planting along the shoreline, a permeable hiking trail and a 300-foot wood boardwalk to provide hiking in a wetland area with views of the water. Interpretative signage will be installed to educate trail users about plant and wildlife species in the habitat. The signage will also describe how the site is functioning to attenuate rainfall inputs and clean up water before it flows to the ocean ($30,000).
- City of Key Biscayne, Miami-Dade County – This project provides the Village of Key Biscayne with actionable, science-based information on vulnerability to sea-level rise. This will be done by conducting a Sea-Level Rise Vulnerability Analysis and a sea-level rise adaptation plan for the community, both to increase resilience of infrastructure and to increase public awareness of risk ($15,000).
- City of Key West, Monroe County – This project will conduct a formal vulnerability assessment of an important community asset in Monroe County. The project will identify the risks of sea-level rise to one facility in the county, as a means to develop a transferable method that can be used to quantify potential losses for various other assets in the Florida Keys that are anticipated to be impacted by sea-level rise. ($15,000).
- City of Ft. Pierce, St. Lucie County– This project expands a passive recreational trail system in Walton Scrub, located on the shore of the Indian River Lagoon in St. Lucie County. In particular the project includes construction of a 60-foot observation tower for bird and wildlife viewing. The aim of the project is to provide a regional hiking destination. The tower will also have a webcam that provides a 360-degree online view of the site. The project also improves public access to the Indian River Lagoon. This is the only publicly-owned land in a long distance of shoreline along the lagoon in this region ($30,000).
- Volusia County – This project is a collaborative effort between Volusia County, the Florida Department of Transportation, the University of Florida and others to pilot test a new sea-level rise planning tool to provide implementation recommendations about community adaptation, and also to provide educational experiences for county leaders and planners, residents and FDOT staff. The results of the exercise will inform agencies and people involved in future planning about vulnerability of particular areas and particular infrastructure in the county so that wise decisions can be made to be most resilient in the face of sea-level rise ($15,000).
Every year, the Florida Coastal Management Program solicits proposals for CPI projects from coastal communities, which are then reviewed and ranked by experts. Florida’s public colleges and universities, regional planning councils, national estuary programs and nonprofit groups may also apply if an eligible local government agrees to participate as a partner.
CPI grants provide financial support to communities for the implementation of local projects that protect, enhance and improve the management of natural, cultural and historical coastal resources, and increase the sustainability, resiliency and preparedness of coastal communities. FCMP provides National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration funds on a competitive basis to eligible local governments through the CPI grant program. Eligible local governments are defined as Florida’s 35 coastal counties and all municipalities within their boundaries that are required to include a coastal element in their local comprehensive plan.
Editor’s Note: The original version of this post has been amended to show the individual project funding amounts and corrected total funding amount.