Miami Beach, Florida Stormwater Management Master Plan

In 2012, the City of Miami Beach, Florida approved an updated city-wide Comprehensive Stormwater Management Master Plan (SWMMP). The plan includes strategies for improving stormwater management practices, coastal infrastructure, funding, and regulatory policies. The plan accounts for sea level rise impacts on stormwater in the City, and provides planning flexibility for various rates of sea level rise. The SWMMP is intended to be a guide for improving Miami Beach’s stormwater management system flood control and water quality performance for the next 20 years, with considerations of potential sea level rise over 20-years of stormwater infrastructure and a 50-year planning horizon for sea wall heights.

The SWMMP is based on a flood data modeling analysis that accounts for the approximately three to six-inch sea level rise as projected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the region over the next 20 years. As a result of the SWMMP, Miami Beach announced in 2015 it is investing up to $500 million in a five-year plan to adapt its coastline against flooding caused by sea level rise. Between seventy to eighty pumps will be installed to drain the streets of water. Additionally, the city is planning to raise roadways and sidewalks by 1.5 to 2 feet along the western side, which faces the Biscayne Bay.

The SWMMP provides a preliminary schedule of prioritized capital improvements necessary to allow the City’s stormwater systems to:

- meet the increasing performance and regulatory demands,
- modernize existing systems for both flood control and water quality, and
- maintain the City-desired flood control level of service.

In 2010 the City of Miami Beach authorized CDM Smith Inc. to evaluate and update its SWMMP. CDM Smith developed recommendations and proposed modification to language included in the City’s Public Works Manual, City ordinances, and policy documents.

Recommendations were made based on the categories of: Data Management, Stormwater Models and Future Condition Analysis, Stormwater Harvesting and Reuse, Sea Level Rise Considerations, Seawall Height Considerations, Pump Station O&M, Storage Facility Standards, Outfalls/Backflow Preventer Standards, Recharge Well Standards and O&M, Swales O&M, Exfiltration Trench O&M, and 100-Year Floodplain Storage.

CDM Smith recommends approximately $196 million in capital improvements proposed for the City’s primary stormwater management system. CDM Smith has incorporated an additional sea level rise adjustment of approximately $10 million to account for the potential phenomena of accelerated sea-level rise (up to 0.84 ft NAVD mean high tidal conditions - high scenario), and subsequent additional stormwater facility needs.

The overall recommendations from the SWMMP as related to sea level rise are to:

  • Monitor and participate in future regional recommendations related to sea level rise
  • Follow USACE Civil Works and FEMA guidance in planning and design
  • Monitor pending IPCC recommendations regarding sea level rise that are scheduled to be released to the public within the next three years
  • Review tidal data every five years and adapt the SWMMP as appropriate




Publication Date: August 17, 2012


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