18 Florida mayors participate in Summit on Sea Level Rise

18 Florida mayors participate in Summit on Sea Level Rise
18 Florida mayors participate in Summit on Sea Level Rise
Pictured at the recent American Flood Coalition Florida Mayors Summit in Washington, DC, are (l-r) Mayor Michael Davey (Key Biscayne), Mayor Brent Latham (North Bay Village), Mayor Karyn Cunningham (Palmetto Bay), U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala (FL-27), Mayor Tim Meerbot (Cutler Bay), former Mayor Jim Cason (Coral Gables), and Mayor Philip Stoddard (South Miami).
(Photo credit: The Documentist Photography)

The American Flood Coalition recently hosted its inaugural Florida Mayors Summit in Washington, DC. Eighteen Mayors, representing more than 2.6 million Floridians, participated in two days of meetings with federal-level experts as well as members of the Florida Congressional delegation to discuss solutions to the urgent issue of flooding and sea level rise.

“As mayors, we stand on the frontlines of some of the most pressing issues facing our country, including sea level rise,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. “Thanks to platforms like the American Flood Coalition Florida Mayors Summit, we are able to make our voices heard on the national level. This unifies our region to tackle sea level rise in innovative, collaborative ways that will help both our city and state adapt and thrive in the face of climatic events.”

The mayors were joined by Florida’s Chief Resilience Officer Dr. Julia Nesheiwat and Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Noah Valenstein for sessions about resiliency, funding, and the federal landscape. In addition to local efforts, Florida is developing a coordinated, statewide approach to becoming a more resilient state.

“As Florida’s first Chief Resilience Officer, a core part of my role is to listen and work directly with mayors and local leaders experiencing the challenges of flooding and sea level rise firsthand,” Nesheiwat said.

“I appreciate the leadership of the American Flood Coalition in organizing events like the Florida Mayors Summit to make sure all voices can be heard. The relationships built at the Summit will be essential to continuing the successful collaborations we are already seeing across the State of Florida.”

With 1,300 miles of exposed coastline, frequent inland and tidal flooding, and destructive hurricanes and storm surge, many are looking to Florida to learn from the responses of local and state officials. During the Summit, Mayors from the Sunshine State discussed the steps they are taking to adapt to the reality of higher seas, stronger storms, and more frequent flooding.

“Mayors uniquely understand the challenges of flooding and sea level rise. It is mayors who receive the phone calls about flooded streets and intimately understand the challenges that flood-affected communities face,” said Melissa Roberts, executive director of the American Flood Coalition. “We were proud to welcome a committed group of mayors to D.C. who are working towards effective solutions for their community. Our inaugural Summit set the stage for engagement with elected officials at all levels that will continue well beyond these past two days.”

The American Flood Coalition is a nonpartisan group of cities, elected officials, military leaders, businesses, and civic groups that have come together to drive adaptation to the reality of higher seas, stronger storms, and more frequent flooding.

Representing nearly 200 members from 14 states, including 87 members from 56 towns, cities and counties in Florida, the coalition seeks to advance national solutions that support flood-affected communities and protect our nation’s residents, economy, and military installations.

Cities, towns, elected officials, businesses, and local leaders wishing to join the American Flood Coalition or read more about the organization’s work can visit the Coalition’s website (www.floodcoalition.org) to find out more.

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