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The City of Punta Gorda is currently experiencing climate change. Severe tropical storms and hurricanes with increased wind speeds and storm surges have already severely damaged the community. Significant losses of mature mangrove forest, water quality degradation, and barrier island geomorphic changes have already occurred in the adjacent Charlotte Harbor. Longer, more severe dry season droughts coupled with shorter duration wet seasons consisting of higher volume precipitation will generate a pattern of drought and flood impacting both natural and man-made ecosystems. Even in the lowest impact future climate change scenario predictions, the future for the City will include increased climate instability; wetter wet seasons; drier dry seasons; more extreme hot and cold events; increased coastal erosion; continuous sea-level rise; shifts in fauna and flora with reductions in temperate species and expansions of tropical invasive exotics; increasing occurrence of tropical diseases in plants, wildlife and humans; and destabilization of aquatic food webs including increased harmful algae blooms.
This report identifies the alternative adaptations that could be undertaken to address the identified climate change vulnerabilities for the City of Punta Gorda (FL). These adaptations are presented in the order of prioritized agreement from public meetings. Only the highest agreement adaptation in each vulnerability area is fully developed for potential implementation. One of the utilities of this approach is that it provides a variety of adaptation options, which the City could select for implementation, adaptive management, and subsequent monitoring.
Climate Change Toolkit
Punta Gorda Adaptation Plan
By Brendon Haggerty
Punta Gorda has undertaken an exhaustive plan that includes admirable goals and objectives. Like other coastal jurisdictions, there is clearly a sense of urgency behind these actions. As a model for other jurisdictions, the chief drawback of the plan is its daunting length, over 400 pages.