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For Immediate Release:
November 12, 2013
Media Contact:
Betty Aguirre


Miami-Dade Sea Level Rise Task Force begins to tackle climate change impacts

(MIAMI)  – The Miami-Dade Sea Level Rise Task Force held its first meeting on Nov. 4, 2013 to begin tackling the risks of climate change in Miami-Dade. 

The seven-member panel, made up of experts in fields ranging from climatology and civil engineering to banking and real estate, has been tasked with recommending ways to prepare the County for the expected rise in sea levels due to global warming.

“I am very pleased with the level of knowledge and expertise each task force member brings to the table, and I am extremely appreciative of their willingness to dedicate their time and efforts to address this critical issue to the future of our County,” said Board of County Commissioners Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa, who sponsored the July 2, 2013 resolution that established the task force.

The urgency of the panel’s task has been highlighted by this fall’s extreme high tide events, which have been putting growing pressure on local drainage systems expected to be further impacted by rising sea levels.

Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin, the task force’s chairman, outlined Miami-Dade County’s history of leadership on sustainability issues, but he stressed the urgent need for a plan of action to address and mitigate the potential far-reaching impacts of climate change in Miami-Dade. Researchers have identified Miami-Dade County as one of the most vulnerable places in the world to coastal flooding. (See video depicting the impact of sea level rise in greater metropolitan Miami at one-foot intervals.)

"South Florida is ground zero, and the time to act is now. Failure to plan is the same as planning to fail. I commend the Chair and the Board for taking some ownership of this critical issue by establishing the SLR Task Force," Mr. Ruvin said.

The task force has 90 days to present its recommendations to the County Commission, but it can request additional time if needed. Part of the group’s job will be to review the recommendations of an earlier climate change panel and interface with current regional planning efforts. 

The task force’s next meeting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 at 10 a.m. at the Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse Center, 175 N.W. 1st Ave., 26th Floor Conference Room, Miami, FL 33128.

RISING TO THE TASK: The Miami-Dade Sea Level Rise Task Force held its first meeting on Nov. 4. From right to left are task force members Arsenio Milian, environmental engineer and former member of the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District; Jorge Gonzalez, president/CEO of City National Bank of Florida; Chairman Harvey Ruvin, Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts; Vice Chairman James Murley, executive director of the South Florida Regional Planning Council; David Enfield, climate researcher with the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Science; Sara Fain, executive director of the Everglades Law Center; and T. Willard Fair, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Miami. Miami-Dade Deputy Mayor Jack Osterholt, far left, also attended the meeting.