Summit on rising seas brings Bay Area mayors to the table

The mayors of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater talked Tuesday about the rising sea level and their cities' ability to handle what may come.

Their discussion was part of the Resilience Leadership Summit, the first event of its kind in the Tampa Bay Area.

"We've been designated ground zero for climate change and sea level rise," said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

Some of the discussion focused on future storms in the context of sea level rise. 

"Ten years from now, any storm that comes into Tampa Bay is going to have a much greater impact on all of us," said Phil Compton of Sierra Club Florida.

He said cities must reduce dependence on fossil fuels to slow the sea level rise. St. Petersburg, Largo, Dunedin, and Safety Harbor have already pledged to do just that.

Castor says Tampa has work to do, but a $2 billion storm water upgrade is a step in the right direction. She says the city will soon hire its first chief resilience officer to head up the efforts.