Coastal Processes, Hazards, and Society

Miami Dade County Adaptation Planning


Miami Dade County Adaptation Planning

Please explore this Story Map of Miami Dade County resiliency planning areas. It sets out the problem and shows examples of the solutions that are currently in process. As you read about each approach, try to envision how this approach may work in 30 or 50 years from now with projected rates of sea level rise. Make notes about each on and complete the Learning Check Point below.

Learning Check Point

To explore these approaches in more detail, go to Miami Dade County’s Sea Level Rise and Flooding.

Clearly, the costs associated with some of these adaptation plans going forward are astronomical. The question of how they will be funded, even in a city of great wealth, such as Miami, is a difficult one. Miami has begun to address the issue of raising funds to pay for infrastructure adaptation with a $400 Million Miami Forever Bond, which is helping to pay for infrastructure upgrades. But also, rate increases for sewage treatment are necessary, pointing to many difficult financial decisions for city leaders.

Environmental fellows from Harvard Kennedy School of public policy examine important policy and funding aspects for adaptation action for Miami in this article: Rising Seas, Sinking Infrastructure: Miami’s Climate Conundrum

The opening video asks:

  • How can Miami protect $3.5 trillion in exposed assets due to climate by 2070?
  • What are policymakers doing to address aging infrastructure?
  • How can the public be engaged in planning for a different future?

In conclusion, the Kennedy School’s writers recommend the following actions for Miami and other coastal cities:

“Addressing such a daunting problem requires a coordinated strategy, drawing expertise from a diverse array of stakeholders. Cities facing similar challenges should start by taking the following actions:

Expand the group of “decision makers” to include those who aren’t normally offered a seat at the technocrat’s table. Expertise from all angles is necessary to communicate the issues as they relate to people’s daily lives, and then inspire collective action. It is also important that resources are allocated with an eye towards equity, justice, and public health.”

  • Establish consensus on sea-level rise projections. Decision-making agencies should use the same future projections and build these into planning. The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact has implemented unified sea level rise projections.
  • Develop a standard operating procedure around classifying asset risk. Decide whether to harden to high, medium, or low sea-level rise projections based on the asset’s importance and its exposure during smaller flood events versus Category 5 hurricanes.
  • Consider whether to allocate a portion of the regular capital budget to adaptation projects, or whether to develop an entirely separate climate adaptation budget and funding stream, such as through a bond measure.
  • Emphasize the importance of long-term thinking. Almost half of city mayors are elected to two-year terms. Calling for changes that benefit residents in fifty years becomes difficult if residents vote based on short-term actions.

Learning Check Point

Reading the article Rising Seas, Sinking Infrastructure: Miami’s Climate Conundrum. The article states: “Incremental infrastructure investments are an improvement, but difficult questions remain. Climate change may cause between 2.5 and 6.75 feet of sea level rise in Miami by 2100.[7] Some experts project even higher levels...” Make a list of the difficult questions as you see them, then complete the Learning Check Point activity below.