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Longboat Key to prepare sea level rise action plan

Longboat Key has hired consultants to assist the town in preparing for the potential effects of sea level rise.

Town staff have been working with consultants from Aptim Environmental & Infrastructure Inc. since July 9 to assess the town’s infrastructure in the first step of a four-phase process that town leaders hope will lead to a series of steps to prepare the island.

“The ideal outcome would be realistic, reasonable and implementable adaptation strategies that make sense for the town, based on a practical projection of sea level rise,” said Isaac Brownman, public works director.

Longboat isn’t the only one making such preparations. The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council has formed the Tampa Bay Resiliency Coalition to address sea level rise in the region in a similar way, and Manatee County is a partner.

Sea levels rise an average of one-eighth of an inch per year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The idea to look a bit deeper at how sea level rise will affect the town originated from many sources, Brownman said, including Town Commission meetings, conversations with the public and comments from now-retired staff members.