Water-Related News

SJRWMD resiliency officer lays out challenges ahead of legislative session

Board Chair Rob Bradley suggested it was a better idea to pursue funding for larger-dollar efforts.

Water is a necessity and a threat, something woven through resilience priorities for the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD). The district’s Board received a soup-to-nuts overview of resiliency plans in Florida and the district’s place in that process this week, with an eye toward what’s possible in the next Legislative Session.

“Communities in our district and throughout Florida are being impacted by environmental changes, such as increasing temperature, changing weather events, and sea level rise,” said Tom Frick, the Chief Resiliency Officer for the WMD. “As you can see … over the last hundred years, that sea level (at Fernandina Beach) has risen by over 8 inches.

“That’s a pretty big number, but also, the projections right now are that it’s going to rise another foot in the next 30 years, so we’re speeding up that increase in sea level rise. These environmental changes I’ve mentioned are exacerbated when they’re layered upon changes such as building in low-lying areas, and aging infrastructure.”

Beyond technical expertise, Frick told SJRWMD Board members that it was the state WMDs’ responsibility to provide technical assistance in other resilience projects, along with its core missions of water supply, water quality, flood protection and conservation of natural systems.