sea level rise blog

Coastal Wetlands Restoration & Wastewater Reuse

Rehydrated coastal wetlands in Biscayne Bay provide important ecosystem services and could be key in local climate change resiliency measures. To explore this subject farther, Miami Waterkeeper recently hosted a program at Deering Estate on the economic valuation of ecosystem restoration in order to discuss the benefits to restoring wetlands and options for wastewater reuse. The day began with a tour of a pilot wetlands restoration site lead by Dallas Hazelton (Natural Areas Management, Miami-Dade County). Then during a panel discussion, scientists and resource managers explained the importance of quantifying ecosystem benefits as a resiliency measure for Miami-Dade County.

Miami Waterkeeper Executive Director, Rachel Silverstein, moderated the panel that included Lee Hefty (DERM, Miami-Dade County), Kevin Lynskey (Water and Sewer, Miami-Dade County), Bahrem Charkhian (South Florida Water Management District), and Julia Wester (Field School, Blue Backyard Miami, University of Miami Abess Center). Panelists discussed nature-based infrastructure, ecosystem services, and natural capital as a means of making our county more resilient to sea level rise and other climate change-related threats, with a specific focus on wastewater reuse opportunities and challenges.

We also shared our newly released study on the value of restored wetlands, conducted by Earth Economics and funded by The Miami FoundationThe study explains how Biscayne Bay's coastal wetlands provide essential ecosystem services. Rehydrated coastal wetlands would provide $120 million in ecosystem services annually, amounting to $3.3 billion when treated as an asset. Enhancing Biscayne Bay’s health would lead to improved resilience for the region. Building resilience includes, but isn’t limited to, increasing protection from storms, ensuring reliable drinking water, enabling continued recreational and commercial fishing, and buffering sea level rise.

Read more about the Earth Economics study HERE

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