Firstly of the hurricane season, Miami-Dade’s sea degree technique is underway
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – All the water. It’s exactly what makes life in South Florida so attractive, but it also poses one of the greatest threats to communities.
Earlier this year, Miami-Dade Mayoress Daniella Levine Cava announced the county’s new sea level rise strategy, an ambitious plan to stay one step ahead of sea level rise – and ultimately those severe flooding events.
“Now we have the ability to look into the future and project sea-level rise and see the consequences, and plan and design,” said Jim Murley, Miami-Dade’s chief resilience officer. “These are billion-dollar projects.”
Murley says the main focus when it comes to sea level rise isn’t directly on the coast – they’re actually inland areas.
“Our number one priority in working with the state and federal government is updating the basic regional drainage system,” he said.
Canals that carry water to the coast now need an updated design and improved pumps to handle rainwater and tidal flooding.
“The original design was that the inland water would be a foot and a half higher than the water in the bay,” Murley said. “So the water flows downhill and we had a good sewage system. The sea level has risen four inches since Hurricane Andrew. “
People who live in certain neighborhoods say that tidal events can bring water almost all the way to their doors.
“When the king’s tide comes in, the whole street is flooded and it’s just a mess,” said one.
A frontline community in South Florida has already invested millions in innovations to protect roads from flooding.
“The people who are laying the foundation here are the city of Miami Beach,” Murley said. “They’re out there, they’re getting this impact off the mainland.”
Miami Beach’s new pumping systems and elevated streets have had an impact on several neighborhoods, including parts of West Avenue where Tim Carr lives.
“A lot of good has come out, for example, you’ll see we don’t flood anymore,” said Carr.
But in areas like the Palm and Hibiscus Islands, some neighbors’ homes stayed a few feet below the streets as many streets were raised.
“There is a lot of controversy over how much are you actually increasing in this process?” Said Carr.
The county is now seeking help for residents to fund changes like elevating or flooding their homes – just another example, Murley says, of how everyone is together.
“We are beginning the long process of preparing for sea level rise and the investments that will protect our property and people,” said Murley.
Among the other priorities: getting people out of endangered sewer systems, securing critical facilities in the district and gaining access to safe and affordable housing. But it’s a long and costly to-do list.
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