How Cities Can Embrace Nature As A Climate Solution

Large climate impacts like sea level rise will, for many cities, require investing in large infrastructure projects. However, some cities in low-lying areas may have another solution at the ready: nature. In an ambitious collaboration between Miami-Dade County, an environmental group, and an international engineering firm, climate leaders are devising ways to deal with rising seas by restoring local habitats.

The collaboration among local governments, environmental interest groups, and the private sector seeks to identify a solution to sea level rises by restoring marshes and protecting the Everglades. By identifying the capacity for natural solutions to mitigate encroaching sea water, and supplementing this with infrastructure projects that can prevent damage to existing structures, local governments can leverage natural habitats to decrease construction costs, target mitigating efforts, and revitalize natural environments.

Such projects may be just the beginning. Mangroves, coral reefs and wetlands can all help mitigate the consequences of a changing climate, especially in low-lying areas. Mayors and city leaders must embrace these solutions, which protect their communities in a low cost, natural way. Climate solutions can work for families, cities, and our local environments. Find out what you can do in your community by visiting Path to Positive Communities!

Miami-Dade turns to nature to combat sea-level rise

By Jenny Staletovich | The Miami Herald | March 29, 2016

Miami-Dade County, long criticized for being too slow to take on climate change, is teaming up with the Nature Conservancy and global engineering firm CH2M to look at the region’s natural defenses to sea rise.

On Tuesday, Chief Resilience Officer Jim Murley unveiled two pilot projects for the modeling, including the county’s sprawling wastewater treatment plant near Cutler Bay, where about $1 billion in infrastructure is already vulnerable to flooding from high tides and storms. Earlier this month, a new study found that if South Florida continues growing as projected, more of its residents will be at risk from sea rise than in any other state. The state also has the most amount of property at risk.

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