Tampa gets $200,000 grant to help find ways to protect from future coastal issues along McKay Bay

The City of Tampa announced a plan Tuesday to begin shoring up part of its shoreline, with scientists predicting sea levels to rise up to nearly two feet by 2050.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is awarding Tampa a $200,000 coastal design grant to help determine how to protect the Palmetto Beach community from future coastal issues along McKay Bay.

"We're going to be out here sampling water quality, meeting with the community, understanding how these seawalls might be re-imagined, certainly repaired, to help provide additional protection to this community." said Whit Remer, Tampa's Sustainability and Resiliency Officer. "We're going to document all of this and start to present options to the community, so they can tell us how they'd like to see their relationship with the water be improved."

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In a news release, the city said, "an interdisciplinary team of engineers, scientists and designers are now developing conceptual coastal resilience plans that will work to provide protection from storms, improve water quality, increase marine habitats, and add aesthetic value in Palmetto Beach."

City leaders said they're interested in this project as a pilot to establish a design process for near and offshore nature-based risk mitigation strategies in urbanized areas. Possible measures include additional living shorelines, breakwaters, longshore bars, enhanced seawalls, and onshore green infrastructure.

Remer said the studying and planning processes should take about a year. He expects state and federal money to be available to assist with construction projects during the next phase.