Sea-Level Rise Readiness
Sea level rise is an existential threat to the function of many of our most critical systems, like wastewater, drinking water, and energy.
The problems we face are complex. Locally, Biscayne Bay and the surrounding watershed are degrading rapidly. Globally, Miami is on the front lines of the climate crisis; millions of lives, fragile ecosystems, and hundreds of billions of dollars in assets are at risk.
Climate change is affecting almost every aspect of life for South Florida’s 4.7M+ residents. We have measured 6" of sea level rise since 1996, and just those 6” have already resulted in over 400% more flooding events. Our stormwater systems are not compliant, our wastewater infrastructure is chronically failing, our 120,000+ septic tanks are being compromised daily by rising water tables, and our power supply - the Turkey Point nuclear plant - is threatened by rising sea levels. These infrastructure failures and risks, combined with a rapidly growing population, are dramatically increasing pollution in our waterways.
Biscayne Bay is deteriorating at an alarming rate; we’re experiencing unprecedented algae blooms and fish kills, and our precious coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangrove forests have declined by at least 80%. This is affecting our quality of life, harming the economic driver of our community, and creating an uncertain future.
Therefore, we are at a crossroads between quick vs. sustainable fixes. We need leadership to prioritize long-term resiliency, which is why MWK makes sure these solutions do not come at the expense of the environment or disadvantaged communities. For example, when the U.S. Army Corps proposed building a $6B, 30-foot-high wall in Biscayne Bay and through low-income neighborhoods, we pushed back, demonstrating that not only would this plan destroy these neighborhoods, it would have made flooding worse, degraded water quality, and perpetuated equity issues. Our advocacy led to a commitment by the County and the Army Corps to pivot to a “locally preferred” option that incorporates nature-based solutions and local community considerations.