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Panel’s SLR Committee talks about proposed project, funds

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Feb 23, 2021

The Captiva Community Panel’s Sea Level Rise Committee recently discussed a proposal from its consultant to continue with adaption planning and came up with a possible way for funding the work.

During a special meeting on Feb. 17, the committee reviewed the Bayside Adaptation proposal submitted by Cheryl Hapke, of Integral Consulting. She has been assisting the group with gathering information on the effects of sea level rise on Captiva, including defining assets, consulting experts, outlining areas of vulnerability and offering alternative approaches for resiliency and adaptation.

Hapke was engaged to perform an island-wide vulnerability assessment, focusing on characterizing coastal typology and identifying vulnerable community infrastructure utilizing Coastal ADAPT, or Adaptation Decision and Planning Tool. The committee has since evaluated the various sea level rise estimates for the next 30 years, agreed upon the best planning assumption and completed the initial phases of the firm’s project, which identifies the risks to Captiva over a 30-year planning horizon.

However, at the CCP’s January meeting, Panel Member and Sea Level Rise Committee Chair Linda Laird explained that Integral Consulting has been working with the committee pro bono and that the committee was unsuccessful in getting some grants it had hoped for. As a result, the committee asked the firm for a proposal outlining deliverables and costs for the next six months to a year to continue.

Hapke submitted the proposal for her firm’s continued work, which would consist of developing and assessing adaption alternatives for five, high-risk “focus areas” on the island, at a cost of $33,346.

At last week’s meeting, Hapke provided the committee with an overview of what work the proposal would entail, plus a short presentation on similar successful revitalization efforts in another state. She explained that the idea would be to start with the five areas and implement adaption design solutions, then proceed to look at the rest of the island and those solutions’ applicability to the remaining areas.

“Ultimately, your goal is to come up with something suitable for the whole bayside,” Hapke said.

Laird noted that the committee is aiming for solutions for 80 percent to 95 percent of Captiva.

“Then we’ll figure out what to do with the other parts,” she said.

As part of the discussion, Hapke answered a mix of questions from the committee.

“It seems to me that there’s a general positive response to this proposal,” committee Member David Mintz said, adding that it meets the committee’s needs as far as where the group is at now on its work.

The committee also discussed how to cover the cost of the proposal. Several members voiced support for reaching out to the Captiva Erosion Prevention District as a possible partner for the project. The idea was also proposed of letting interested donors contribute financially toward it to pay for the work.

Mintz noted that he spoke with CEPD Chairman Rene Miville about the proposal.

“He was supportive of it,” he said, referring to the documentation and overview he provided.

After further discussion, the committee decided to schedule time at one or more upcoming CEPD workshops to discuss its research and work to date, along with the proposal and needed funds. It would request about $28,000 from the CEPD for the project, with the CCP to cover the leftover balance.

“It shows the fact that we’re all working together to meet the resilience needs on the island,” Mintz said.

The committee is hoping to have the CEPD’s commissioners vote on the proposed funding request at their March 8 meeting, so the committee can provide an update to the CCP at its March 9 meeting.