Sarasota Bay satellite image - Sea Level Rise

Planning for the Future

Climate Ready Estuaries

SBEP receives funding from the Climate Ready Estuaries (CRE) program of the Environmental Protection Agency to support local planning for climate change. The CRE program supports NEPs and coastal communities by providing special tools and assistance to assess climate change vulnerabilities, engage and educate community stakeholders, develop and implement adaptation strategies, and share lessons learned with other coastal resource managers.

SBEP projects supported with CRE funding are listed below.

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (2016)

In 2016, the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program received funding from the to conduct a risk-based assessment of its Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). The goal of the assessment is to identify goals within the CCMP that may be vulnerable to climate change impacts such as sea level rise, ocean acidification, changing air and water temperatures, and changes in precipitation patterns.

In November 2016, the SBEP held a joint meeting with the Science and Environment Council of Southwest Florida to gain stakeholder input on the potential sensitivities of CCMP goals to climate change impacts. The 55 meeting attendees identified over 120 potential vulnerabilities in six CCMP goals spanning the SBEP mission to restore and protect Sarasota Bay. Input from this meeting will be incorporated into the climate vulnerability assessment, which is slated for completion in fall 2017. Read the meeting report here.

Sea Level Rise: Tips for Adaptation Planning Brochure (2014)

2014 Sea Level Rise Brochure

In collaboration with Mote Marine Laboratory, the SBEP produced a brochure containing information and resources for local adaptation planning. The information in the brochure draws from local, regional, and national examples to lay the groundwork for conversations about sea level rise scenarios and adaptation strategies.

King High Tides Photo Project (2011)

King High Tide Fall 2011

During the last week of October 2011, the Sarasota Bay area had high, or “king,” tides of over two feet. King tides occur when the moon and sun align on one side of the Earth and their gravitational forces combine to create higher tides than normal. While these tides are natural occurrences, they provide local communities with a sneak-peak of what the landscape may look like in future decades with sea level rise. Click here to see photos from around the Florida Gulf Coast.

 Sea Level Rise Web Tool (2010)

Sea Level Rise Map

Planning for changes to shorelines and the larger impact on the community will become increasingly important in the decades ahead. To support future planning, SBEP created a Sea Level Rise web map tool that shows various scenarios based on different levels of water due to sea level increases and surges of water from occasional storms.

This pilot project is a collaborative effort of SBEP and Mote Marine Laboratory, with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Climate Ready Estuaries Program. The areas shaded in blue show lands vulnerable to sea-level rise along the Sarasota Bay Estuary. The visualization tool shows an approximation of potential flooding in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, but not exact locations.

The analysis is based on the mean higher high water level obtained from LiDAR elevation imagery. The LiDAR data has a vertical accuracy of 0.60 feet (at a 95% confidence interval). The LiDAR data does not cover depth of water columns. All cells in the DEM grid below sea-level rise thresholds were designated as inundated regardless of hydrologic connectivity. The water levels shown are the flooding above the mean high tide level, but do not take into account the possibility of erosion, land subsidence, sediment accretion, or future construction. To display the potential flooding in the event of a hurricane driven storm surge, the map also illustrates (in shades of magenta) the extent of a Hurricane Charley-level storm surge for each sea level increase.

Go to the Sea Level Rise Viewer!

Click here to see information about the data.

Sea-level rise inundation data displayed in the map viewer were developed by Kate Doiron, GIS Specialist, at Industrial Economics, Inc. in Cambridge, MA.

Regional Action

SBEP works closely with partner governments, agencies, and non-profit organizations to plan for climate change impacts.

The City of Sarasota

UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County