Sea level rise vulnerability assessment

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 10:41 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The city of Panama City is putting together a plan to protect properties from rising water.

Thursday afternoon city leaders held the final meeting of the Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment. The event took place at the Bay County Government Center.

The first meeting was held in August and aimed to identify areas most vulnerable and at risk. The second meeting explored solutions and strategies to protect at-risk property owners, businesses and the community at large.

Panama City Commissioner Brian Grainger said the purpose of the meeting was less about rising sea levels and more about mitigating stormwater damage.

“Really what it’s for is if we have a lot of rainfall or if we have a hurricane or we have king tide anything that would cause us to have a lot of water coming in from the bay or the gulf,” Grainger said. “What are we going to do with that water where is that going to be impacted what areas do we need to identify now.”

Residents were presented with five strategies which included protection, retreat/relocation, avoidance, procedural and accommodation.

George Carothers lives on Beach Drive and says the solution of living shorelines resonated with him.

“It’s something you don’t typically think about,” Carothers said. “It’s concerning to everybody it’s kind of bound to happen eventually so let’s get prepared a little bit for it and understand it better and as we understand it I think there’s perhaps room for potential improvement and I think there’s things that are being done that are counterproductive to sea level rise.”

Solutions offered included backflow preventative stormwater valves, flood gates, elevated structures and wet flood-proofing structures.

Residents left comments and placed stickers on ideas they’d like to see implemented moving forward as well as ones they were not in favor of.

Officials expect the final report to be completed and available to citizens in the first quarter of 2024.

The assessment is being funded through the Resilient Florida Grant program.