FORT LAUDERDALE —Flooding, erosion and salt water contamination caused by sea level rise has made headlines over the past few years but few solutions have been offered to deal with the crisis.

That changes this week thanks to a brown bag open forum called “Sea Level Rise: County & City Solutions’ which will feature presentations by a Broward County official and two environmental experts on how and why certain populations are at greater risk, what can done and how these action plans can be implemented.

Keren Bolter, a Geosciences Ph.D candidate at Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Environmental Studies will discuss how lower-income areas in Broward County face the greatest risk from a rise in the sea level.

“Low-income populations at low elevation are particularly vulnerable because they lack the resources to respond to sea level rise impacts,” Bolter said. “The first step is effective risk communication, which begins with engaging residents to be aware and prepared. This can lead to a change in behavior and public support for adaptation options.”

Jason Liechty, Environmental Projects coordinator for the Natural Resources Planning and Management Division of the Broward County Environmental Protection and Growth Management, will present an action plan for Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Monroe counties.

 “The good news is that we have a highly successful voluntary collaboration preparing for the future: the Regional Climate Change Compact among Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties, municipalities and nonprofits,” Liechty said. 

“Working together as a region, we’ve developed new planning tools and a Climate Action Plan to adapt to sea level rise and other climate impacts and to do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

Tara Bardi, senior scientist for the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation for the Everglades, will discuss how methods used in Everglades restoration can be applied as a counter measure for sea level rise.

“The restoration of surface water flow from the Kissimmee River basin to Lake Okeechobee and south into the Everglades could serve as a counter measure to the salt water intrusion  and its effects on the environment and infrastructure resulting from sea level rise,” Bardi said.

 The forum is part of the Friday Brown Bag Panel Lunch Series presented by the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation for the Everglades, the League of Women Voters of Broward County and the Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches.

 “This is perhaps the most important issue of our time,” said Anthony Abbate, associate provost for FAU’s Broward campuses.

 Last year, Abbate was responsible for helping organize the second annual “Sea Level Rise Summit: Resilience in the Face of Change.” It was held at FAU Fort Lauderdale and attended by experts from around the world.

“This April 4 open forum is an excellent follow-up to what was presented last semester,” Abbate said.

Roberto Santiago is communications officer for the FAU Broward campuses.