Southwest Florida is currently experiencing climate change. The natural setting of southwest Florida coupled with extensive overinvestment in the areas closest to the coast have placed the region at the forefront of geographic areas that are among the first to suffer the negative effects of a changing climate.
Climate change is an important social, economic, and community health issue facing our nation and our world. It is not solely an environmental or scientific issue. The questions and answers surrounding climate change take root in economic, physical, and social structures. The Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council (SWFRPC) has a two-decade history of addressing climate issues, beginning with its ground-breaking disaster and severe storm preparedness planning. Economic, social, community health, infrastructure and environmental issues have been addressed in the context of storm surge, wind speeds, and infrastructure resilience. Through the SWFRPC Strategic Regional Policy Plan (SRPP) and local government comprehensive plans, we have been able to make conservation management, land use, and infrastructure investment decisions that not only make the region more resilient to the impact of severe storms but place us in a better position to adapt to climate change.
The SWFRPC has a long history of capacity-building at the regional level for the growth management challenges posed by climate change. These include:
- Hurricane Preparedness Planning
- Geographic Information System Library
- Regional Wildlife Habitat Planning on a Landscape Scale
- Calusa Regional Restoration Coordination Committee
- East Gulf of Mexico Coastal Conservation Corridor Plan
- Lower West Coast Watershed Subcommittee
- Regional Greenprint
- Southwest Florida Feasibility Study that is now the Southwest Florida Watershed Assessment
The SWFRPC’s guest program, the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP), has been named by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as one of the initial six Climate Ready Estuary pilot programs in the nation.
More on Climate Change, that includes the Southwest Florida/Charlotte Harbor Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and City of Punta Gorda Climate Change Adaptation Plan.