Building climate resilience with nature

In an effort to find smart solutions for sea-level rise, storms, floods and other climate impacts in South Florida, The Nature Conservancy today announced several new partnerships and two demonstration projects in Miami-Dade County to highlight and maximize the use of nature-based infrastructure solutions, such as mangroves, coral reefs, wetlands and dunes, as an important line of defense for coastal and community protection. These natural features are often cost-effective tools to absorb floodwaters, lessen wave energy and protect coastal residents and assets from the damages caused by storms.

 Miami-Dade County is one of the most economically vulnerable locations on the planet, with over $345 billion in assets and 2.6 million people at risk due to flooding and sea-level rise. The County has already invested millions of dollars in natural and coastal area protection along with parks, trails and other open spaces. These natural areas – or natural “capital” – can be leveraged for more protection for county residents and assets, and enhanced and restored for further community risk reduction. These new partnerships announced today will further support and demonstrate how effective these efforts can be to build resilience across the region and beyond. The Nature Conservancy is committed to advancing Miami-Dade’s community resilience through a number of new two-year partnerships. The Conservancy will work with RMS, one of the world’s largest catastrophe risk modeling firms, to build standards for the modeling of mangroves and salt marshes in RMS models, ensuring that the coastal protection value of these natural systems is reflected in risk assessment and management decisions. Dr Robert Muir-Wood, Chief Research Officer at RMS said, “Through RMS’ risk models we can quantify the way that natural ecosystems, such as coastal marshes, can reduce the cost and damage from floods to the properties they protect. In an era of rising sea levels and potentially stronger storms we will increasingly want to evaluate the role that such habitats can play in risk mitigation. RMS is delighted to support this initiative by showing how it is possible to measure the benefits to local communities.” 
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