I have written previously here about Miami-Dade County’s recent climate change initiatives, which included adoption of requirements in 2014 that all county infrastructure projects consider the potential impact of sea level rise during all project phases and that existing infrastructure be evaluated in the face of sea level rise.
Yesterday, the Miami-Dade County Commission moved closer towards greater resiliency by voting to adopt all 6 of the recommendations of the Miami-Dade County Sea Level Rise Task Force as set forth in the Task Force’s July 1, 2014, Report. Among the recommendations adopted yesterday , the County Commission directed the Mayor and the Mayor’s staff to i) prepare an action plan to accelerate the adaptation planning process by evaluating the relevant expertise needed to develop an enhanced capital plan for flood protection, salinity structures, pump stations, and road and bridge design stations, ii ) study the feasibility of designating certain geographic areas within the County as climate change adaptation areas; and iii) initiate discussions with private insurance and reinsurance organizations, the state Insurance regulatory authority, and other key stakeholders to develop long-term risk management solutions. The resolutions also included direction for the Mayor to work jointly with state and regional governmental agencies to conduct a comprehensive evaluation and develop adaptation strategies for the County, which will include potential funding mechanisms and a time frame for implementation.
Notwithstanding the far-reaching nature of these directives, the Task Force’s recommendations enjoyed a broad spectrum of support at the County Commission meeting. Supporters ranged from Tropical Audubon and The Cleo Institute to the Builders Association of South Florida and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. The Chairman of the Task Force referred to the need to protect an estimated $ 6 trillion of assets at potential risk in south Florida due to the impacts of sea level rise.
The details of the Task Force’s recommended action plan and the costs of its implementation have yet to be determined (although reported projections for implementation of the plan are in the $ 20 billion range). What is clear, however, is that, as the global debate continues about the quality –of- life and economic consequences of climate change and sea level rise, Miami-Dade County is taking additional steps to “set the stage for a fully comprehensive assessment and plan to provide an evolving infrastructure, resilient to a worst case scenario.” Res. R-451-14 (May 6, 2014). We will continue to follow these developments.