Sarasota: A Leader in Countering Sea Level Rise


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, July 10, 2018 – Purchases of coastal homes and waterfront residences necessarily require weighing the capability of communities to meet the challenge of rising sea levels as a result of climate change. On this note, prospective buyers of Sarasota homes for sale on the water have a head start as the city is a leader in adopting measures addressing climate change-induced sea level rise.

The city, as a policy-making step, has joined the national Sierra Club’s “Ready for 100” nationwide campaign for 100% clean and renewable energy, a critical move to help cut the gas emissions that scientists widely believe causes rapid climate change. Notably, Sarasota was the third Florida city to have joined this campaign.

The City Commission, based on a 2003 baseline, aims to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent by 2025. With its commitment to the Sierra Club campaign, Sarasota has likewise adopted the club’s banner goal of using 100 percent renewable energy for the entire municipality, including the private sector, by 2045.

Proactive Steps Lined Up

As important, the city is undertaking proactive measures to address the sea level rise scientists foresee in the coming years. Sarasota has so far identified the city assets most at risk from possible flooding as a result of rising sea levels and has established priority sectors for budgeting and investment to address potential inundation.

At St. Armands Circle, for instance, the capacity of five pumps sending stormwater is now being evaluated to ascertain if expansion is necessary and by how much. As Sarasota tries to build community support on solutions to the rising sea levels, city officials are likewise coordinating its efforts with similar initiatives in Longboat Key, Venice, and North Port for a possible unified long-term approach on the problem.

Valves on Storm Drains

Longboat Key

On the drawing board for Longboat Key, as well as Anna Maria, Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach, is the adoption of smarter infrastructure such as the installation of valves on street storm drains that could restrain bay waters when high tides hit above-normal levels. Height restrictions on seawalls in Longboat Key are also being reviewed, opening the possibility of higher structures. In Venice, the size of the Nokomis Avenue stormwater pipes installed in these flood control structures was increased to the largest possible.

Farther down south, planning for countermeasures on sea level rise started even earlier in Punta Gorda, which is adopting lessons it learned from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Charley in 2004. This city hired a consultant from the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council who presented an extensive “climate change management adaptations” including a new downtown drainage with a gate system designed to prevent street flooding during high tides.

Hyperlocal Move at Pelican Cove

Pelican Cove

Significantly, a residential community on Little Sarasota Bay, Pelican Cove, has taken the cue from Punta Gorda’s efforts and hired the same planning consultant to craft an adaptation plan specifically for this bayfront neighborhood of 731 condos. Amongst the action steps that Pelican Cove is taking is the creation of an oyster reef on its shoreline in coordination with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. The community will also desilt Clower Creek for better drainage and plant trees that can better stand hurricanes.

Certainly, more can be learned about specific public and private initiatives in Sarasota addressing issues and concerns on rising sea level. Connect with an expert local realtor for some additional briefing on which waterfront or coastal Sarasota homes for sale provide the best possible options.