City of Tampa working to create climate-ready infrastructure for Palmetto Beach
Through New Coastal Design Grant
The City of Tampa, with the support of a $200,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, is working with community members in Palmetto Beach to create climate-ready infrastructure improvements with a new Coastal Design Grant.
An interdisciplinary team of engineers, scientists and designers are now developing conceptual coastal resilience plans that will work to provide protection from storms, improve water quality, increase marine habitats, and add aesthetic value in Palmetto Beach.
The City is interested in this project as a pilot to establish a design process for near and off-shore nature-based risk mitigation strategies in urbanized areas. Possible measures include additional living shorelines, breakwaters, longshore bars, enhanced seawalls, and onshore green infrastructure.
Living shorelines, such as the one being enhanced in Palmetto Beach, use plants or other natural elements to stabilize estuarine coasts, bays, and tributaries. Living shorelines provide many benefits, including protecting shorelines from erosion, providing a habitat for fish and other marine life, improving water quality and shore nutrients, increasing stability over time and attracting natural wildlife. These types of projects were promoted in the city’s Resilient Tampa roadmap, release in May of 2021.
“With this Coastal Design Grant, we are able to work with the community and coastal resilience experts to explore options that can restore, increase, and strengthen natural infrastructure in the Palmetto Beach community,” said Whit Remer, the City of Tampa’s Resilience and Sustainability Officer. “These options, if implemented, can not only provide coastal protection, but also enhance habitat for fish and wildlife. We look forward to using lessons learned from this project in other applications around the city.”
The project team includes the City of Tampa, University of South Florida, Tampa Bay Watch, Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Applied Sciences Consulting Inc. and members of the community.
Sustainability and Resilience measures like these that address climate change, sea level rise and flooding are part of Mayor Jane Castor’s Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow initiatives.
In a report released last week by the Tampa Bay Partnership, investing in coastal resilience projects, such as the types being explored in this project, are shown to have a return on investment of nearly $2.27 for every $1 spent.
The City of Tampa is currently assessing other seawalls managed by the city that may also be transformed into living shorelines.
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