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Experts Say Tampa Bay Needs To Spend $13.4 Billion To Protect From Rising Sea Levels

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Local environmental and economic researchers say the Tampa Bay region will need to spend roughly $13.4 billion to protect against rising sea levels due to climate change.

"We need to take the steps today to prepare and make Tampa Bay more resilient to preserve the lives livelihoods and businesses of this area. We're going to have a lot of property that is going to be at risk and permanently lost due to sea level rise if no adaptation takes place," said Dave Sobush with the Tampa Bay Partnership.

In a report by the Tampa Bay Partnership, researchers recommend infrastructure improvements.

"Moving and raising seawall, that includes better burn construction along our coastal areas, beach re-nourishment, but also for individual property owners, it includes things like elevating structures and also waterproofing and flood proofing," said Sobush.

This graphic from the report shows how rising sea levels are predicted to impact the Tampa Area and the Pinellas County peninsula if no action is taken, with the light blue color showing how much land could be covered by 2070.

The report also states by 2070, we could see a loss of $16.9 billion in property values and $238 million in sales, tourism, and more.

Sustainability and Resilience Officer for the City of Tampa, Whit Remer, says for every dollar the community spends now, we could save two dollars and 27 cents in future damage repairs.

"Yes those disasters are very expensive and can have scary consequences. If we spend a little bit of money now we can ultimately save your health and save your community a lot in the long run," said Remer.

He says the City of Tampa is already looking into infrastructure improvements. Dave Sobush says the $13.4 billion dollars needed to save our coastal lands, will need to come from federal, state, and local governments and residents.

"This is a problem that we are going to need to come together collectively as a community, residents businesses and governments, to make sure we are doing the things we need to be done to lessen the losses going forward," said Sobush.

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