Local Leaders Unite to Combat Climate Change, Announce New Coastal Resilience Partnership
By: The Merchant Strategy
Kicking off the CRP's efforts, over 30 local representatives from the municipalities convened on February 28, 2019 at the Swinton Operational Complex in Delray Beach, Florida, to discuss and craft official guiding principles of the partnership. City of Boynton Beach Sustainability Coordinator Rebecca Harvey, who is managing the grant-funded portion of the project, stated, "It is truly inspiring to have so many of our local leaders ready to take action on climate change. With the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's support, we are able to face this challenge as a united force. Approaching climate adaptation as a regional partnership will enable our communities to avoid costs while creating a more robust and consistent approach to climate adaptation."
The CRP currently consists of Palm Beach County, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Briny Breezes, Delray Beach, Gulf Stream, Highland Beach, Hypoluxo, Lake Worth, Lantana, and Ocean Ridge. Representatives from each municipality and County have informally met throughout the past year to discuss resiliency and sustainability planning. Capitalizing on this collaborative opportunity, the City of Boynton Beach applied for a Resilience Planning Grant through FRCP that has allowed the CRP to formalize.
Facilitating the CRP, Carollo Engineers, Inc. is providing environmental and climate adaptation consulting to synthesize geographical data, perform a data gap analysis, and develop the framework for a climate vulnerability assessment. Vice President and Senior Project Manager of Carollo Engineers, Juan Oquendo commented, "Our team is sincerely humbled and proud to be part of the CRP in uniting the region and paving the way for a cohesive climate adaptation strategy. As a local resident, I have experienced firsthand effects of climate change and rising sea levels and I am excited to take action. Our team will create the framework of a climate vulnerability assessment considering the unique challenges to preserve our coastal communities."
The CRP's first phase of efforts includes developing a climate vulnerability assessment, performing a gap analysis utilizing local geographical data from each municipality, and raising awareness and engaging the public throughout this endeavor. Harvard University Law School's Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic is providing pro bono to assistance to formalize the collaboration, develop terms for a joint request for proposals, and contribute information on climate vulnerability assessment best practices.
During the kick-off meeting, CRP members considered many factors that will play a role in future planning efforts, such as infrastructure, social and economic issues, and protecting vital natural resources. Members discussed how the CRP will foster synergy among coastal communities and provide a consistent methodology for assessing climate vulnerability, prioritizing needs and delivering on adaptation strategies.
The CRP brings diverse backgrounds and knowledge bases together that will help each community combat their own unique challenges. The CRP will collect and monitor regional data to stay current with flood, erosion and habitat changes along the Palm Beach County coast. Future CRP meetings are already scheduled throughout the late spring and summer where members will continue laying the groundwork to achieve a regional resilience planning strategy that works for all communities. For more information on the Coastal Resilience Partnership, please contact Bethany Lawler at Beth@themerchantstrategy.com.
The Merchant Strategy