South Florida officials get ally in fight against effects of climate change

A park in the town of Palm Beach following a high tide last October.

A park in the town of Palm Beach following a high tide last October.

South Florida officials, who have been clamoring for years to get state help in countering flooding and seawater intrusion tied to global warming, have an ally in the Florida League of Cities.

The organization said Monday that it is supporting any legislation aimed at gauging the impact of rising ocean water and helping local governments coordinate among themselves to ease the problem.

Money?

“That’s what it’s going to take,” said Rebecca O’Hara, a league lobbyist.

For his part, Gov. Rick Scott in his $79.3 billion budget proposal released last week, calls for a relatively routine state government step.

Scott, who is among those mostly Republican elected officials who refuse to acknowledge that climate change is occurring, recommends spending $5.8 million for land acquisition near Biscayne Bay, $1 million for the state’s coastal zone management program and $25 million for beach renourishment.

South Florida water managers two years ago submitted a report that showed climate change causing sea level on the state’s Atlantic Coast to climb nine inches over the past century.

That rate is accelerating and could advance an at least an additional nine inches over the next 50 years, analysts have concluded.

Evidence of the changes are already being seen across South Florida, where regional flooding and saltwater intrusion is becoming common in area canals and waterways. Many coastal streets in Palm Beach County now flood during higher-than-usual ‘king’ tides and even normal high tides, officials said.

South Florida lawmakers, though, not only struggle to get fellow legislators to steer dollars or programs their way, they continue to work on convincing colleagues that the region’s problems have a statewide impact.

Reader Comments 0

0 comments