Miami’s extremely low elevation puts the city at the front lines of the battle against sea level rise flooding. The city is constantly grappling with ways to control floodwaters that are serving as a general guide for other cities and town all along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coastlines.
This week, the city of Miami unveiled its “Miami Forever Climate Ready” plan to combat climate change and sea level rise flooding. Jane Gilbert, the city’s resiliency chief, said the plan outlines 86 actions that need to be taken to control flooding and reducing the city’s carbon footprint.
Among the recommendations to address climate change heat are making buildings more energy-efficient, buying electric vehicles, and planting more trees. To meet the challenge of rising seas, the city plans to upgrade failing stormwater system, raising sea walls, installing stormwater pump stations, and creating wetlands to shift floodwaters from city streets. In areas that experience extreme flooding, the city is considering buying out private property, which, in many cases, is cheaper than rebuilding structures that are repeatedly damaged by floodwaters.
Massive amounts of money will be needed for the city to address sea level rise flooding and climate change, which will worsen in the decades to come. City officials say the challenge is finding funding for the projects when real estate could lose value, which would reduce the amount of tax revenue the city has to work with. If this happens, issuing bonds to pay for the projects could also become more difficult.
Despite the challenges, the report says Miami shouldn’t wait to implement the recommendations. The report says, “Now is the time, while Miami’s economy is still growing, to turn this climate change into an opportunity.” In 2017, Miami voters approved a $400 million bond to improve the city’s sea level rise flooding defenses.
Buyers, sellers, owners, and real estate agents need to know what their local governments are doing to combat sea level rise for several reasons: 1) The projects could impact their tax rates and flood insurance premiums; 2) The projects could determine whether or not their property floods; 3) The project’s effectiveness could impact their property value; and 4) The projects could impact their quality of life if nearby seawalls are raised or pump stations are installed.