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There is consensus among the world’s leading scientists that Southeast Florida is one of the regions most vulnerable to climate change. Miami-Dade County has been in the forefront of addressing these issues for many years, particularly potential flooding impacts. The County has been implementing policies and initiatives to address climate change, environmental protection and other sustainability issues including energy efficiency and water conservation.
Miami-Dade County’s climate change strategy is outlined in GreenPrint as well as in the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Action Plan. The Regional Climate Action Plan (RCAP) was developed in August 2012 by the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact. The plan was developed following a two year collaborative process involving nearly 100 experts representing public and private sectors, universities, and not-for-profit organizations.
The Compact is a regional collaborative formed in 2009 with Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties, as well as their municipalities and partners. Through the Compact local governments are working together to mitigate the causes and adapt to the consequences of climate change. In December 2009, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners approved a regional climate change compact to develop joint policy positions and legislative policy statements, and develop a Regional Climate Change Action Plan. The Compact also hosts an annual summit which Miami-Dade hosted in 2010 and 2014.
Addressing Sea Level Rise
The Sea Level Rise Task Force, formed in July 2013, developed several important recommendations, which are being implemented in Miami-Dade County. After reviewing the relevant information regarding the potential impact of sea level rise on public services, facilities, real estate, water, ecological resources, property and infrastructure the Task Force provided the County with direction for where to focus adaptation efforts.
Subsequently, the County issued a series of reports providing more detailed information on these and other topics:
- Executive Summary
- Flooding and Saltwater Intrusion
- Adaptation Action Areas
- Environmentally Endangered Lands
- Enhanced Capital Plan
- Climate Change Advisory Task Force
Planning for Sea Level Rise
Since 2014 and the adoption of Resolution No. R-451-14 it has been County policy that all capital projects consider the impacts of sea level rise. For all planning purposes the County relies upon the Compact’s Unified Sea Level Rise Projection for Southeast Florida. These locally-adapted projections incorporate the best available science and are consistent with the projections used by the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. By 2060, the County expects sea levels to be 14 to 34 inches higher than the 1992 mean sea level.
Adaptation Action Areas
After completing a feasibility assessment of the concept of Adaptation Action Areas, the County decided to pursue the concept on a pilot basis.
The first area chosen was a low-lying stormwater basin in the northeastern portion of the County known as the Arch Creek Basin. In May 2016, the Urban Land Institute hosted an Advisory Services Panel focused on the challenges in the area. In advance of that panel the County published a briefing book with background on the basin. The Urban Land Institute’s final report provided recommendations on resiliency measures for the area.
In November 2015, those recommendations were taken further during Resilient Redesign III charrette. This event was hosted by the University of Miami’s School of Architecture and the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Compact. This four-day design charrette was aimed at enhancing the resilience in three low-lying areas within the Arch Creek basin representing different typologies: the coast, the ridge and inland. The final presentation showcases the ideas of the design teams.
- Southeast Florida Develops Plans to Address Sea Level Rise and Conserve Water
- NOAA Digital Coast Case Study: Miami-Dade was featured as a best practice case study -- Adapting to Sea Level Rise in Miami-Dade County, Florida -- as part of NOAA’s Digital Coast initiative and Inundation Toolkit.
- ICLEI Climate Adaptation Program – Climate Resilient Communities. Miami-Dade County was the first local government in the nation to use ICLEI's advanced tools and resources to accelerate its preparedness to climate change.
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