August 2019 – Climate change is expected to have a dramatic impact on coastal areas in the coming decades. Rivers, particularly near the coastal zone, will not be spared. The lower Hillsborough River, from the city of Tampa Dam down to Tampa Bay, will experience the effects of climate change. This area of the River is tidally influenced and will experience rising water levels as sea levels rise. This will put lower elevation homes and other structures at risk of flooding.
In June, Heather Young, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council Staff, and Mike Bauer, Management and Planning Committee member for the Tampa Bay Resiliency Coalition, updated the Hillsborough River Board’s Technical Advisory Council.
The Resiliency Coalition convenes participating local governments in the Tampa Bay area to work together to address the impacts of climate change that will affect our area. Currently, 27 local Tampa Bay Governments have signed on as members. Collaboration through the Coalition will strengthen our region’s ability to plan for the changing climate, reduce impacts and secure increased levels of federal funding to support resilient infrastructure improvements, adaptation and mitigation programs, which protect our communities, property and economies. Participating in the Resilience Coalition will enhance counties, cities and stakeholder organizations’ understanding of changing risks and best practices and policies for increasing resiliency.
In the near term the Coalition expects to:
- Produce a guidance document for integrating sea level rise (SLR) into planning;
- Identify best practices and select leading risk & vulnerability assessment methodologies;
- Begin work on a nature-based adaptation principles guidance document (shorelines, seawalls, green space);
- Change budget capital planning process to require analysis of SLR;
- Establish a resilience planning framework for how we move forward as a region.
The River Board will continue to be a partner with the Coalition to work to address the effects of climate change in the Hillsborough River corridor.