USFSP to Host Two Day Workshop on Coastal Resilience, Adaptations

Panelists address the audience during a discussion panel from the 2015 ICAR conference. Photo credit: John Osegovic.

Panelists address the audience during a discussion panel from the 2015 ICAR conference. Photo credit: John Osegovic.

USF St. Petersburg will host the second annual Initiative on Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (ICAR) Solutions for Coastal Cities: Resilience and Adaptations in Tampa Bay workshop Sept. 13-14 in the USFSP University Student Center Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.

The conference will feature a series of presentations and panel discussions with experts from south Florida and the Tampa Bay area, as well as some political leaders. State Rep. Darryl Rouson will serve as a panelist and Shahra Anderson, regional director for the office of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, will deliver the inauguration speech before U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson speaks via a recorded message. The goal of the conference is to inform the community about the work that is underway to address vulnerabilities and coastal hazards.

Commander Angela Schedel, deputy director for the Engineering & Weapons Division at the U.S. Naval Academy, will serve as the keynote speaker and will speak to climate change and security. As a career naval officer, Schedel served 22 years as a helicopter pilot and engineering professor, deploying multiple times to the Persian Gulf, flying logistics and search-and-rescue missions. She has a master’s degree and a doctoral degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland, and her doctoral presentation was on the economic effects of sea level rise. She is a member of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Sea Level Rise Advisory Council and will share her perspective of serving on that panel.

“We have been able to attract high caliber speakers to our campus to engage students, faculty, and the community in the urgent conversation around climate change, resilience and adaptations,” said Dr. Barnali Dixon, professor of Environmental Science. She added that the conference will serve as an opportunity to expose students and the community to the critical and timely topic. “USFSP, with these efforts, is poised to position itself to be a leader in these conversations to bring science, data, policy and community together to assist with better decision making.”

Dixon worked with Dr. Donny Smoak, professor of Biochemistry, and Dr. Rebecca Johns, Frank E. Duckwall Professor of Florida Studies, as part of the executive committee. They planned the event in collaboration with students from Gamma Theta Upsilon (GTU). They also are collaborating with Tampa Bay Estuary Program and Tampa Bay Watch.

“I would encourage everyone to take a minute to scan the program and see for themselves the exceptional line-up of scientists, elected officials, and concerned community group representatives who will be taking part in this ICAR conference” said Dr. Frank Biafora, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at USFSP.  “I couldn’t be more proud of the faculty and students who have worked tirelessly to bring attention to this incredibly important topic.”

The event is hosted in collaboration with the Initiative on Coastal Adaptation and Resilience, Tampa Bay Watch, and the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council ONE BAY Resilient Communities Working Group. It is supported by a USF conference grant and in-kind support from Frank E. Duckwall Professor of Florida Studies and Tampa Bay Watch.