U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson Talks to UF Researchers On Rising Sea Threat

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U.S. Senator Bill Nelson met with University of Florida researchers Monday to discuss how rising seas will effect North Florida.

Nelson talked to Andrea Dutton, assistant professor of Geology at the UF Department of Geological Sciences, not just about the data behind the issue, but ways to make the public aware of it before it spawns a natural disaster.

“What is it going to take for our people to recognize that the seas are rising?” Nelson said. “Of all places, Florida is going to be one of the most affected where 75 percent of our population live along the coast.

“Just wait until we have the big one hit, another Hurricane Andrew hitting directly at one urbanized part of the coast, and wait until it comes across the central part of the state. ”

Though Gainesville is not on the coast, it will not escape the effects of the sea levels rising, Dutton said.

“North central Florida will be impacted by sea level rise,” she said. “As sea levels rise in, let’s say, in our nearest port, Jacksonville, we won’t be able to receive the goods and services we get out of Jacksonville.”

Dutton said that these effects will be easier for the residents of north central Florida to see when a large natural disaster occurs.

“The state of Florida finally requested an emergency declaration and will work with FEMA to get that emergency assistance.” Nelson said.

The declaration was filed in 2014 for assistance with severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding from the Tampa Bay Area to north central Florida.

About Elizabeth Thompson

Elizabeth is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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