“Fjords punch far above their weight in their ability to pull out a lot of carbon from the atmosphere and store it in the mud,” said Brad Rosenheim, geological oceanography professor and paleoclimate expert at the USF College of Marine Science, who explained that scientists only learned of this small-but-mighty role recently. In 2015, an ocean geochemist and professor at the University of Florida, Thomas Bianchi, pioneered a Nature Geosciences study, with his graduate student at the time, Richard Smith (now at Global Aquatic Research LLC), that first opened scientists’ eyes to the powerful role that fjords play in global carbon storage, he said.

Full article available on USF's College of Marine Science website

The RCAP 3.0 was developed with the guidance of more than 150 subject matter experts as well as with the input of community members and stakeholders. It outlines goals, recommendations and supporting strategies across 11 focal areas to advance the objectives of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared to a 2005 baseline, and of strengthening the adaptive capacity and climate resilience of the region's communities, institutions and economy. 

First developed in 2012, the RCAP is a voluntary framework designed to align, guide and support the acceleration of local and regional climate action in Southeast Florida to realize a healthy, prosperous, more equitable and resilient, low-carbon region.

VIEW & DOWNLOAD THE RCAP 3.0

Florida State University has launched a new program to jumpstart research opportunities addressing sustainability and climate change issues.

The program will award grants of up to $150,000, with a total of $1 million available in the 2022-2023 academic year. Interdisciplinary and collaborative proposals are strongly encouraged. The goal is to act as a catalyst for further work on these topics. With that in mind, recipients are expected to pursue external grant funding at the conclusion of their projects.

Research proposals can focus on any aspect of sustainability, including the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability. They can also deal with issues around climate change, such as mitigation, risk assessment and management, adaptation, resilience and more.

Read the news piece on FSU's University News website.

Visit the program website for more information. Proposal submissions from faculty will be accepted through Feb. 9, 2023. Award decisions will be made in April 2023.

Hurricane Ian left behind a staggering trail of damage to communities and the environment in southwest Florida. A steady stream of response and recovery efforts, from emergency rescues to rebuilding of critical infrastructure, has been underway since the storm brought record breaking winds and rainfall. Alongside these efforts, the UF Center for Coastal Solutions has embarked upon a collaborative effort to understand how the hurricane affected water quality and ecosystems in the region.

Quickly after landfall, the CCS and partners Captains for Clean Water, Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Partnership (CHNEP), Charlotte County, South Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), Sarasota Bay Estuary, and Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) mobilized to sample coastal waters for harmful algae, nutrients, oxygen, and fecal indicator bacteria. 

These data are important for estimating the amount and types of pollutants that entered the estuary during the storm and understanding their impacts on human and ecological health. Beyond directly sampling and analyzing water quality, the CCS launched a post-Ian water quality working group involving over 15 organizations including local, state, and national agencies, and environmental organizations.  

This valuable work to assess water safety is funded in part by the US Army Corps of Engineers and will continue until April 2023.  

The water sampling team working off of Sanibel Island, left to right: UF CCS Director, Christine Angelini, Ph.D.,
SCCF Water Quality Technician Sierra Greene, and CCS Field Technician Adam Hymel

 

Read more here

By Thomas Ruppert

Florida’s coastal communities face unprecedented challenges with sea-level rise (SLR) as it permanently inundates areas and exacerbates typical coastal hazards. SLR creates novel legal and financial challenges as it impacts infrastructure for which local governments have legal and financial responsibilities. These challenges call for equally novel planning and policy development; such novel thinking, legal research, and drafting often exceed the capacities of small- and medium-sized local governments that frequently lack the staff bandwidth and specialization to independently conduct such work.

Florida Sea Grant (FSG) has, since 2012, been collaborating with the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council (ECFRPC) to provide legal and policy research, conduct trainings and outreach, and draft legal language for small- and medium-sized communities on Florida’s east central coast. The novel approaches developed by FSG have led the way for small- and medium-sized local governments in the region through approaches and planning policies that focus on grounding today’s policy and actions in long-term visions balancing desires for coastal protection and infrastructure services with the fiscal and physical realities of our changing coast. Areas of focus include comprehensive plan language seeking to minimize potentially crippling legal and fiscal liabilities for infrastructure and shifting the focus of infrastructure services from reactive to specific property owner complaints to proactive based on current and future scenarios focused on infrastructure services as part of a system serving communities of people. As part of the ECFRPC’s Regional Resiliency Collaborative and co-developer of the ECFRPC-led “Regional Resilience Action Plan,” FSG  has been instrumental in developing policies and working with the ECFRPC to disseminate them.

FSG and Thomas Ruppert served as a driving force in the City of Satellite Beach’s adoption of Adaptation Action Areas language in their comprehensive plan—the first municipality in Florida to do so. In Ordinance 1160, Satellite Beach became the first municipality we are aware of in Florida to explicitly state in its land development code that its policies seek “to promote a managed retreat from the sensitive ocean bluff and Erosion Adaptation Action Areas.”[1] This represents a shift away from hard armoring of our coastlines and recognition of a changing future. Satellite Beach approved Ordinance 1194 on March 17, 2021. This ordinance adopted virtually verbatim extensive FSG comprehensive plan recommendations. Ordinance 1194 modified Satellite Beach’s Comprehensive Plan elements for Infrastructure, Coastal Management, Intergovernmental Coordination, Capital Improvements, and Future Land Use.  As of January 2022, at least nine additional local governments in the ECFRPC’s region have adopted language drafted by FSG, edited by FSG, or drafted by the ECFRPC with input from FSG, including: Brevard County, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Melbourne Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Oak Hill, Rockledge, Titusville, and Volusia County. As part of the ECFRPC’s “Regional Resilience Collaborative,” more local governments in the area are expected to likely adopt language based on the resilience work of FSG and ECFRPC. In September of 2022, Satellite Beach adopted an ordinance and supporting documents created by FSG to integrate additional recommendations on notice of sea-level rise to permit applicants. FSG continues to collaborate with Satellite Beach and partners to move forward resilience in Satellite Beach and the many communities emulating Satellite Beach’s approach.

Florida Sea Grant is leading the way in developing holistic legal and planning examples for small- to medium-sized local governments attempting to balance local government fiscal constraints and the realities of sea-level rise through adaptations grounded in long-term visions informing short-, medium-, and long-term actions designed to maximize the quality of life, economic outlook, and safety of coastal governments on our changing coastline. Local governments are responding by adopting FSG-drafted/inspired language into their comprehensive planning for resilience and into ordinances.