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Southwest Florida Compact Moves Forward

By Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech, Attribution, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8012026
Color-coded shaded relief map generated with data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. For the view on the right, elevations below 5 meters (16 feet) above sea level have been colored dark blue, and lighter blue indicates elevations below 10 meters (33 feet).

On Tuesday April 13, the Collier County Board of Commissioners voted to join the Southwest Florida Regional Resiliency Compact, joining 13 other municipalities in Southwest Florida to increase climate resiliency.

This compact is an agreement between Southwest Florida county and municipal governments to work together to prepare for, adapt to, and mitigate climate change impacts.

By joining the Compact on Tuesday, Collier County is, committed to identifying the risks of climate change, and developing strategies to adapt. Michale Savarese, professor at Florida Gulf Coast University within the Water School has been working to bring all 14 Southwest Florida jurisdictions on board, and will serve as the interim facilitator to get the group up and running.

"There's great interest in the state now, to put resources in place to help communities improve their resilience. Not on a jurisdiction by jurisdiction basis, but through these regional alliances, or compacts," Savarese told WGCU.

Savarese says these kinds of compacts are common throughout coastal Florida. By joining together, local municipalities together with local organizations and civic groups can face the challenges of sea level rise and increasing storms, together.

"Then you're creating a coalition that can pool resources, that can share information, that can more effectively lobby or apply for external money. And so the Southwest Florida compact will give our region our three counties, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier and all the cities and all the public lands and all the civic groups, all the NGOs, greater authority, a greater voice in managing the problems that are coming our way," he says.

The intention is for the group and other interested organizations to come together by the end of May to determine next steps moving forward.

"The timing is perfect. This is a good time to be part of an alliance," he adds.