Making The Case For Bold Action On Sea-Level Rise

December 1, 2020
Support for restoring beach dunes by planting thousands of salt marsh grasses is one way that Fundholders at the Community Foundation of Broward help combat sea-level rise.

We can protect the vibrant community we love from the threat of rising seas.

And investing in ways to make Broward more resilient to climate change will bring more than $5 billion in local economic benefits.

Those are among the exciting findings of a groundbreaking new report that explores the return on investment of adapting to climate change in South Florida.

The Community Foundation of Broward last year provided a $20,000 grant to help produce the “The Business Case For Resilience in Southeast Florida.”

We teamed with the Broward Workshop, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact and other regional partners to sponsor this deep-dive into the risks and opportunities that come from rising seas.

The risks are daunting. South Florida’s sea level is projected to rise 2 feet by 2060 – a threat made worse by pollution-fueled climate change. Rising seas put our neighborhoods, businesses and even our lives at risk from flooding, lost drinking water supplies and other devastating effects.

The new report from the Urban Land Institute estimates that by 2040, more than $4.2 billion in South Florida property value could be lost due to daily flooding. And by 2050, sea-level rise could affect 17,800 jobs.

And yet, the report shows that investing in strategies to take on sea-level rise will be good for business. It projects $37.9 billion in economic benefits if Southeast Florida makes more community-wide improvements such as:

  • Replenishing eroded beaches
  • Seawall construction
  • Beach dune restoration

For every $1 invested in these community-wide adaptations, our region will receive $2 in benefits, according to the report – which is based on the technical findings of the AECOM infrastructure consulting firm.

The benefits grow if we make building-level improvements such as raising structures and investing in other flood-proofing changes. That would bring another $17.6 billion in economic benefits for our region, the report found.

“Together, local governments and the business community have an opportunity to build critical physical and social infrastructure that will protect the region’s robust economy,” the report concludes. “Investing in these processes now will not only reduce vulnerabilities, but also grow the economy of Southeast Florida in the years to come.”

The Community Foundation is committed to providing leadership and fostering innovative, local philanthropy to fuel solutions to climate change.

Support for our fragile environment – through philanthropy we call ECO Broward – is one way our Fundholders already help tackle sea-level rise. For example, thanks to support from charitable Funds at the Community Foundation, more than 126,000 salt marsh grasses have been planted to bolster beach dunes that combat erosion and flooding.

But this is just the start. Just as South Florida needs more regional cooperation and investment to face sea-level rise, Broward also requires more philanthropic muscle to help take on one of the biggest challenges of our time.

Click here to take a look at 'The Business Case For Resilience In Southeast Florida.'

Support for this project was made possible by a grant from the Community Impact Fund at the Community Foundation of Broward.

Learn More

To learn how you can tackle sea-level rise with support for ECO Broward, contact Vice President of Philanthropic Services Nancy Thies at nthies@cfbroward.org or 954-761-9503.

ECO Broward

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