USF St. Pete receives $15 million in funding for Florida Flood Hub

USF St. Pete receives $15 million in funding for Florida Flood Hub

Rendering of the Florida Flood Hub
Illustration, not an actual rendering of the proposed research center

Help is on the way for Florida’s waterways, thanks to USF St. Pete. The University’s St. Petersburg campus has been awarded a $15 million grant proposal, as the Tampa Bay Business Journal first reported on Monday, paving the way for the school to build the Florida Flood Hub for Applied Research and Innovation.

The earmarking of this money is a huge win for USF St. Pete, after its previous plans for an $80 million Environmental and Oceanographic Sciences Center were nixed by Governor Ron Desantis earlier this summer. While those expansive plans are still on hold, the Flood Hub was the crown jewel of the plans for the center and has now received a lifeline to help bring the vision to life.

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The Flood Hub, which has been in the planning stages for years now, will be a state-of-the-art research center that will not only serve the entire state, but will be utilized by USFSP graduate and undergraduate students, as well. The primary aim is, of course, to further coastal resiliency in the Sunshine State as flooding becomes a more significant – and dangerous – problem statewide.

Flood Hub will be a hotspot for oceanic and environmental research

As reported when the project was first proposed, the center will serve as a hub for researchers studying the effects of sea level rise, high-tide flooding events and other environmental issues in ways that are accessible to policymakers, planners, elected officials and the general public. Chief among those flooding events are the hurricanes consistently affecting Floridians across the state.

Original plans for the proposal also called for a new data visualization center that would provide information used to improve forecasting models, help identify flooding hazards, and assess their economic impact.

With this funding, USF St. Pete will be able to begin design and construction plans for the Flood Hub. The facility will be in an ideal location in the city’s Innovation District, which is home to the largest collection of marine science, oceanographic, and environmental research agencies and institutions in the Southeast.

The district includes the regional headquarters for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the U.S. Geological Survey Coastal and Marine Science Center; the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute; the Florida Institute of Oceanography; and the U.S. Coast Guard, among others. Altogether, more than 1,900 marine science-related employees work in the .83-square-mile district.

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