UF/IFAS Helps Coastal Communities Prepare for Post-Disaster Redevelopment

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With the 2019 hurricane season practically here, the University of Florida is poised to help Manatee County and several cities in the Tampa Bay region update their post-disaster redevelopment plans.

That means helping communities know what to do logistically after a nasty storm hits. A hurricane can knock down trees and turn off power, make roads and bridges impassable, damage or destroy housing and other structures and cut off water, just to name a few dire consequences. In turn, the Program for Resource Efficient Communities (PREC) – part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences – helps coastal communities write redevelopment plans so they have a roadmap to deal with redevelopment logistics in advance of a disastrous event.

“With communities still recovering from Hurricane Michael — and hurricanes Irma and Matthew barely fading from our rearview mirror —Florida’s vulnerability to tropical storms and increasingly extreme weather disasters is evident,” said Jerry Murphy, an assistant research scientist with PREC. “Legislative requirements — and the increasing frequency of extreme climatic events — underpin our efforts to plan for coastal redevelopment in post-disaster scenarios.”

To ensure coastal communities keep functioning after a storm hits, PREC has agreements with Manatee County and the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council for ongoing community development assistance. PREC is also available to help other cities and counties with their redevelopment plans, he said.

PREC recently audited Manatee’s Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plan and is now ready to help the county update its five-year plan, Murphy said. Manatee County is working with the regional planning council to help the municipalities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key and Palmetto to prepare for post-storm recovery.

As they update their plans, Manatee County and the municipal local governments in the county will address 2015 state legislation known as Peril of Flood. That law requires coastal communities to include a “redevelopment component” in their comprehensive plans that addresses sea-level rise.

More specifically, the law requires local governments to eliminate inappropriate and unsafe development in coastal areas when opportunities arise. A local government’s redevelopment component also must:

  • Include development and redevelopment principles, strategies and engineering solutions to reduce flood risk in coastal areas resulting from high-tide events, storm surge, flash floods, stormwater runoff and the related impacts of sea-level rise.
  • Encourage best practices, including principles, strategies and engineering solutions to remove coastal real property from flood hazard areas.

“Peril of Flood legislation is an additional state requirement for Florida coastal governments. But UF/IFAS and PREC embrace the law,” Murphy said. “It’s an opportunity to make Florida’s residents more aware of the hazards and risks that accompany the normal, ‘just another day in paradise’ coastal lifestyle. Peril of Flood and post-disaster redevelopment plans provide a window for future improvements to the overall resilience of our partner communities and the state of Florida in furtherance of the UF/IFAS land grant mission.”

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By: Brad Buck, 813-757-2224, bradbuck@ufl.edu

The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.

 

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