Miami-Dade County Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk

With assistance from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center, the Miami-Dade County Office of Sustainability hosted a workshop for county department staff from across all sectors to learn about potential sea level rise (SLR) impacts on county assets and processes, provide input on a county-wide vulnerability assessment, and identify opportunities to adapt to SLR and other climate impacts. The workshop employed NOAA’s Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk, which provides communities with a framework for conducting a participatory assessment of community vulnerability to coastal hazards as well as an approach for incorporating relevant risk information into local planning. Workshop participants (including attendees from county transportation departments representing roads, ports, and transit) used existing maps and data to create an infrastructure profile, and identified critical infrastructure vulnerabilities and opportunities to increase resilience.

Detailed maps depicting critical facilities, capital improvements, and land-use plans overlaid with flood zone data were developed by Miami-Dade County’s Enterprise Technology Services Department’s GIS Division using existing data maintained by the county. The maps enabled workshop participants to visualize vulnerabilities and focus discussions on infrastructure in high risk areas. The maps were combined with information about infrastructure-related policies and planning to create a comprehensive infrastructure profile. The profile enabled participants to identify connections and opportunities between vulnerable critical infrastructure and current or proposed policies that influence infrastructure development or capital improvements.

Building on the infrastructure profile, workshop participants identified several priority issues and actions for reducing infrastructure vulnerability:

  • Use existing hazard mitigation planning processes for evaluation and prioritization as a model for conducting a more detailed inventory and analysis of critical infrastructure vulnerability throughout the county, adding criteria to account for future climate conditions.
  • Rework hazards sections of comprehensive long-range plans to consistently include “a broader infrastructure ‘resilience’ objective” that incorporates long-range hazards into capital improvement, land use, transportation, coastal management, and other plans.
  • Evaluate and update engineering and design standards to incorporate climate impacts and future conditions into life cycle costs and maintenance and replacement cycles, and adopt design criteria flexible enough to accommodate changing climate data.
  • Provide training and education on hazards and climate change to local decision-makers.
  • Identify and pursue alternative funding for infrastructure adaptation, such as leveraging multiple sources of funding and finding new, creative funding opportunities.

In addition to representatives from county transportation departments, other participants were local experts in public safety, planning, housing, environment, and social services. This broad representation was designed to provide multi-disciplinary perspectives in assessing vulnerabilities, as well as to create interactions and relationships among county program managers to facilitate future cross-sector implementation of resilience measures.

The Roadmap workshop was performed as part of the development of Miami-Dade County’s sustainability plan, GreenPrint, which aims to align the county’s sustainability initiatives by leveraging existing county infrastructure plans, land-use planning, and other plans to prepare for future climate impacts. Support for the Roadmap workshop was provided by NOAA and the National Association of Counties through NOAA’s Digital Coast program.


This Adaptation Clearinghouse entry was prepared with support from the Federal Highway Administration. This entry was last updated on February 4, 2015.


Publication Date: March 3, 2011

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