Kathleen Passidomo to headline October Florida Resilience Conference


What happens when you put federal, state, local and private industry leaders together for three days to talk energy, beaches, agriculture, and infrastructure? Hundreds of Floridians will find out when they participate in the upcoming Florida Resilience Conference, set for Oct. 5-7.

The conference, which will take place at the Hyatt Regency in Bonita Springs, will be highlighted by a keynote address by Florida Senate President-Designate Kathleen Passidomo, sharing insights on Florida’s environmental outlook — policy, funding and what lies ahead.

Passidomo will be joined by more than 100 other speakers and panelists, representing local governments around the state, federal and state regulatory agencies, and industry leaders in each of these four areas.

“If you work in government at the local, state or national level or work in beach management, environmental policy or law, property or land regulation, agribusiness, or technology, there’s something for you at this conference,” said Pepper Uchino, president of the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association. “We look forward to deepening connections among stakeholders in resilience.”

With more than $1.2 billion in resilience grant funding allocated over the past two fiscal years, Florida leaders have demonstrated a clear commitment to building up the state’s infrastructure.

“Through our investments in water, infrastructure and environment, the Florida Legislature has demonstrated its commitment to strengthening Florida so we can combat the challenges we face,” said Passidomo. “But our work is not done. We must continuously strengthen our resilience to withstand the future challenges that come our way. I look forward to working with stakeholders at the Florida Resilience Conference toward our common mission.”

There is so much more needed, and so much more to come.

“The future is now. There is no single issue greater than addressing Florida’s resilience, as it touches every aspect of our lives,” said David Rathke, executive director of Resiliency Florida.

Created to provide a professional forum for in-depth discussions of the state’s resilience programs, the conference schedule has four concurrent main tracks in which different aspects of the topics — agriculture, beach management, energy and infrastructure — will be discussed.

Structured as detailed panel discussions and individual presentations, these sessions will be hosted by elected officials, state and federal government agencies and industry experts. They will speak on current resilience initiatives and share knowledge and lessons learned about the effects of climate change on Florida’s communities and businesses.

The agriculture track will include sessions on food security, climate change and adaptability and water availability. Discussions will center around the future of the citrus industry, saltwater intrusion, sea level rise, combating climate change through agriculture and more.

Beach management subtopics will go deep regarding local projects, federal updates, and funding sources. Specifically, these discussions will include beach nourishment through natural means, sand management including case studies relating to federal and state grants, and the legal implications of resiliency efforts relating to the public use of beaches.

Regarding energy, the conference will hit all corners — grid resilience, community collaborations, solar generation, carbon emissions planning and policy and resilience studies. Ranging from lessons learned to energy distribution and the future of power generation, attendees will hear from experts and leaders with their fingers on the pulse of how the state lights up now and in the years to come.

Infrastructure sessions will touch on “gray,” “green,” cyber and transportation angles. Specifically, these sessions relate to gray infrastructures such as stormwater projects and hydrological connectivity, green “nature-based” solutions, and a host of transportation-related issues.

Attendees can look forward to hearing various case studies on such topics as seawall development, habitats migrating in response to climate change in Southwest and Central Florida, and ways to unlock money for infrastructure projects.

The time between sessions will be allotted for professional exchange to encourage organic conversation and networking among participants and speakers.

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