Local governments are invited to join the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition, coordinated by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. (TBRPC) The TBRPC is comprised of members from Pinellas, Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, and Pasco counties.
The Coalition also includes the 21 municipalities that come together to discuss complex regional issues; develop strategic regional responses for resolving them; and build consensus for setting and accomplishing regional goals.
The council, with Sean Sullivan as executive director, is made up of 27 elected officials who serve annual terms, 13 gubernatorial appointees who serve three-year terms, and four ex-officio members from the Florida Department of Transportation District 7, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Southwest Florida Water Management Districtand Enterprise Florida.
Wren Krahl, TBPRC deputy executive director, told Paradise NEWS, “Collaboration 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 Resiliency Coalition will enhance counties, cities and stakeholder organizations’ understanding of changing risks and best practices and policies for increasing resiliency.
“To date, more than 32 local governments have adopted the Memorandum of Understanding, which defines that the Coalition will develop the Regional Resiliency Plan to address sea level rise, climate change and resiliency. Member cities include Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Clearwater, Dunedin, Gulfport, Holmes Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Largo, Longboat Key, Madeira Beach, New Port Richey, Oldsmar, Palmetto, Pinellas Park, Redington Beach, Safety Harbor, Sarasota, Seminole, South Pasadena, St. Petersburg, St. Pete Beach, Tampa, Tarpon Springs, and Treasure Island.”
HISTORY IN BRIEF
Krahl continued, “The TBRPC was officially 60 years old on Wednesday, February 16th, 2022, and will be marked with a special reception during the April 5-6 Executive Summit. Back in 1962, Mayor Herman W. Goldner of St. Petersburg – quite the character with his pipe always in hand and a forward vision that many did not possess – his quote appeared in The St. Petersburg Times:
“It is sometimes hard to look 50 years ahead. Those old enough to look 50 years back can testify that tempus fugit (time flies) far more rapidly than is realized and there is nothing unrealistic in starting now to get ready for needs of the 21st century. By that time, there will undoubtedly be several million people clustered around Tampa Bay. How well and comfortably they can live will depend upon how wisely we can act now.
“Many of us won’t be around to enjoy the fruits of this foresight but our children and grandchildren will be. Besides, by 1970 or 1975 when most of us still will be here, unless we move immediately to anticipate our regional problems, we are going to find an already shapeless megalopolis far less pleasant for living than it should be.”
EXECUTIVE SUMMMIT CELEBRATION
Key event highlighting progress of the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition will be an April 5-6 Executive Summit at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park, 950 Lake Carillon Drive, St. Petersburg. Admission is $350 that includes the TBRPC 60th Anniversary Celebration and the 28th Annual Future of the Region Awards. (register online at www.tprpc.org/events)
Wren Krahl noted, “At the first Leadership Summit in 2020, we heard from national and international leaders in resiliency while engaging in a dialog about new and innovative programs, strategies, and policy that our local leaders can implement in their communities to create a more resilient Tampa Bay.
“Our second Leadership Summit will take it to the next level as we unveil the efforts, progress, and work that has taken place since the first summit with the introduction of the draft Regional Resiliency Action Plan (RRAP). Summit attendees and sponsors will participate in a historic event to solidify this resiliency plan for future generations to come. And like the first event, the agenda will be comprised of local leaders and experts in the field of resiliency and climate change and will specifically address issues such as storm water, flooding, heat, sea level rise, etc. that affect our region and how best we can work together to address those issues. “The Leadership Summit will also host the 60th anniversary celebration of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council the evening of April 5th, as well as the 28th Annual Future of the Region Awards, which will be the highlight of the Leadership Summit luncheon on April 6th.
“Your voice and expertise are needed at this milestone event. Please take advantage of the Early Bird rates and join us for the Regional Resiliency Leadership Summit (see adjacent article for highlights), The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council’s Diamond Jubilee Reception and the 28th Annual Future of the Region Awards honoring resiliency projects and programs throughout the Tampa Bay region.
REGIONAL RESILIENCY ACTION PLAN
The Tampa Bay Resiliency Coalition Memorandum of Understanding tasks members with developing a Regional Resiliency Action Plan (RRAP). The memorandum states that the Plan “shall include strategies for coordinated regional preparation for and adaption to a rapidly changing global environment based on mapping of projected sea-level rise and resulting amplification of localized impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms, and which shall identify funding strategies at the local, state and federal levels for mitigation and adaptation actions to deal with those impacts.”
The Regional Resiliency Action Plan will include strategies and actions that are based on sound science and technical data. The planning team will work together to identify experts for guidance and will use the regional recognized sea-level rise projections as produced by the Tampa Bay Climate Science Advisory Panel to assess sea-level rise vulnerability, inform planning efforts, and provide guidance on what sea-level rise projections should be incorporated into local planning efforts.
The Regional Resiliency Action Plan process will recognize the importance of involvement by all members of the community. The Coalition members will engage and involve local businesses, organizations, associations, and individuals in developing policies and recommendations which will have the support and commitment of community members and organizations. Community involvement is essential for successful implementation.
Emphasis for the plan was reinforced by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent appointment of Dr. Wesley Brooks to serve as the state’s next Chief Resiliency Officer. The CRO is a role that will see Brooks act as an intermediary between local and state agencies in the ongoing fight to make Florida more resilient to climate change.
In 2022, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council is pioneering a new initiative called Resilient Ready Tampa Bay. The project is led by the TBRPC and made possible by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) Resilient Florida Program. The city of Tampa is the FDEP grant coordinator on behalf of the TBRPC.
Two local governments in the Tampa Bay region, in addition to the city of Tampa, will be selected to participate in the project and receive technical engineering analysis/design services at no cost.
Through an interactive design charrette, local government staff and the Resilient Ready Team will develop flood mitigation designs and cost-benefit information that can be used by local governments to apply for state and federal grants. The project began this January and runs through June. The Study Area Selection Application is now available for local governments to apply with a specific flood area.
APRIL 5-6 EXEC SUMMIT PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
Key event highlighting progress of the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition will be an April 5-6 Executive Summit at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park, 950 Lake Carillon Drive, St. Petersburg.
Among highlight presentations:
Tuesday, April 5
Welcome from TBRPC Executive Director Sean Sullivan – brief overview; TBRPC Chair Brandi Gabbard, Goals for 2022, State of the Region; TBRRC Co-chair Janet C. Long, Vision for Coalition
Rep. Ben Diamond, District 68, State Legislative Update William V. Sweet, Ph.D., Oceanographer, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Update on Climate Impacts and High Tide Risks
Lunch speakers: Premier Summit Sponsor comments: Duke Energy Florida, Tamara Waldman, Director,
Renewable Energy generation and Strategy; Special Presentation: Jeff Berardelli, Chief Meteorologist and Climate Specialist, WFLA Max Defender 8 “Heating it Up with Weather and Climate Education”
Gov. Ron DeSantis invited for 4pm talk on The State of Resilience in Florida: Legislation, Planning and Funding
TBRPC 60th Diamond Jubilee Reception at 5pm
Wednesday, April 6
US Representative Kathy Castor invited to open session at 8:30 with talk on Federal Legislation and Funding Update
Resilient Cities Mayors Panel moderated by Bill Varian, Tampa Bay Times, with Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, Largo Mayor Woody Brown, Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard and St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch
RRAP Hot Topics Panel: Activating Hyper Local Resilience Initiatives moderated by Peter Altman, Resilience Coalition Co-Chair, with panelists Sharon Wright, Director of Sustainability and Resiliency, City of St. Petersburg; Susy Torriente, Global Technology Leader for City Resiliency; Gil Martinez, Director of Economic Development, Wimauma Community Development District, and Whit Remer, Sustainability and Resiliency Officer, City of Tampa.
Future of the Region Awards Luncheon emceed by Veronica Citron, VP of Communications, Tampa International Airport
Closing session 1:30-4:30pm RRAP Prioritization Sessions: Mapping the Path Forward with Resilient Cities Catalyst – Corinne Letourneau and Paul Nelson, introducing facilitated table discussions.
[Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Wren Krahl, CJ Reynolds & Randy Deshazo from the TBRPC for their excellent input and photos.]
[Feature editor Steve Traiman is president of Creative Copy by Steve Traiman, providing professional business writing services since 1993. He can be reached via email to email@example.com or by phone to 727-363-7531.]