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Sea Level Rise Committee continues to make strides, rehires Gooderham

By Staff | Sep 18, 2019

The Captiva Community Panel Sea Level Rise Committee continues to make strides in its research, as well as finding a firm who is doing a study without cost.

Seal Level Rise Committee Chair Linda Laird said the Captiva Community Panel has spent $5,000 for the Sea Level Rise Committee, which made them jump ahead of some other communities in terms of planning.

“We are making very good process,” she said.

Since the committee formed with 11 members on March 1, they have met five times face-to-face and have held five meetings through teleconference.

“Accomplishments could not have happened without Kate (Gooderham) work,” Laird said. “She wrote numerous sections of the working document. Based on her background she is able to do the regulations a lot quicker than any of the rest of us could have and understood the projects impacting Captiva. She found a coastal scientist who has proposed a pro bono study.”

Cheryl Hapke of Coastal Science Solutions is volunteering her firm to do the study without cost. She will be working with two other coastal professionals, David Revell and Craig Jones, to test out their framework model.

The mission of the committee is to “gather information on the effects of sea level rise’s impact on Captiva Island, including defining assets, consulting experts, defining areas of vulnerabilities and provide alternative approaches to the Captiva Community Panel for resiliency and adaptation.”

Gooderham said the committee has been wrestling with, and really doing, the initial research and finding out what is their situation.

“It’s a critical component to try to get our arms around something that people from all over the United States are trying to get their arms around,” she said, adding that they are making something completely unmanageable slightly manageable. “The committee should be proud of itself for the amount of research they have done to make it a manageable process.”

The committee has identified Captiva assets and vulnerabilities, selected inundation scenarios, understood existing regulations, researched planning methodologies, formed contacts with other state and local organizations, researched mitigation alternatives and solicited two proposals from sea-level rise experts.

“The team started searching mitigation alternatives. Eric Milbrandt (with SCCF) spoke to us. We have certainly come up the learning curve,” Laird said.

Panel President David Mintz said they knew sea level rise is serious and knew Captiva was in the cross hairs.

“This committee spent the first six months to understand what the problem was,” he said adding that he strongly supports another six months of findings.

Mintz said they have to figure out each of the vulnerabilities and what they can do to fix it, such as a sea wall, mangroves, or building houses higher.

“We have to figure out who can help us do that, what modeling do we use,” he said.

Gooderham said part of the panel’s job in the next six months is to determine how to coordinate with various people that may have jurisdiction, or potential funding to put the whole puzzle together.

Panel member Jay Brown said he believes certain parts of the project may wind up under the Captiva Erosion Prevention District under some kind of joint task force.

“I don’t think we understand enough of the totality of effort of where this project belongs right now,” he said.

Mintz said there is no question that CEPD is going to play a really large role in the process.

“CEPD has the legislative mandate to deal with the bay side and beach side. Hopefully they move in that direction and have a bigger responsibility than just he beach side,” he said. “The work we are doing will duck tale with what CEPD is doing. Hopefully we will have a joint effort to protect this island from sea level rise.

The panel voted unanimously to further the $5,00 grant to the sea level rise committee to retain Gooderham.

Gooderham, of Gooderham & Associates, was hired as staff for the Sea Level Rise Committee.