Florida Adaptation Planning Guidebook

Posted on: 11/03/2018 - Updated on: 2/27/2020

Posted by

Rachel Gregg



This Adaptation Planning Guidebook is a compilation of more than 5 years of stakeholder involvement and research during the Community Resiliency Initiative (CRI) directed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) as part of the Florida Coastal Management Plan. Research began in 2011 and continued through 2017. During this time, upwards of 30 documents that focus on many aspects of adaptation planning and are specific to Florida were created. The documents are available online, and many are directly referenced in this guidebook.

This guidebook is scalable and intended to be used by local government planners in cities and counties of any size, providing a framework to develop an initial or update an existing Adaptation Plan based on current Florida laws, requirements, and recommendations. Not all communities will experience sea level rise in the same way or within the same timeframes. Once Context for your specific location is established (Chapter 1), a Vulnerability Assessment (Chapter 2) can follow. This assessment will guide your community to then establish Adaptation Strategies (Chapter 3) for the specific challenges that face your community in a timeframe that is applicable and realistic. The last component is to determine how to Implement Strategies into your plan (Chapter 4) with existing resources and into other existing planning products and processes. Additional recommendations for periodic updates to review refined climate change and sea level rise science are included as well as recommendations on how to include adaptation in other planning processes as they are updated.

The appendix of this guidebook contains specialty topics such as impact on cultural and natural resources that may be relevant to your individual community. It also contains a list of funding sources that are directly applicable to funding adaptation strategies. There is also an example Vulnerability Analysis and Adaptation Plan for reference, both of which were completed during the CRI.

The goal of this guidebook is to assist Florida communities in preparing for and dealing with the effects of sea level rise, especially coastal flooding, erosion, and ecosystem changes. Using this guidebook, communities can move along the steps of Vulnerability Assessment, Adaptation Planning, and Implementation as outlined on the next page in the Steps to Create Adaptation Plans road map. The unique challenges that sea level rise will pose within jurisdictions will require patience and diligence in the face of constantly changing conditions and information. Using the process outlined in this guideline will help define timeframes within which those changes are likely to occur and provide a springboard for continued discussion on how to protect our quality of life in the face of dynamic environmental changes. 

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