Population and global climate change are two dynamic influences that will have profound effects on the long-term future of Biscayne Bay. Planning, restoration and management efforts to maintain bay quality must consider the role of these long-term sources of stress. The Miami-Dade County Department of Planning and Zoning forecasts that the local population will rise 29 percent by 2020. More people with more demands will put more pressure on the resources of Biscayne Bay.
Another related change is the gradual rise in sea level. Since 1930 sea level has been rising at a rate of one foot per century, and it is expected to rise at least two more feet by the year 2100. It is essential to assess the effects these changes are likely to have on the Biscayne Bay system.
Biscayne Bay must have an independent and dynamic policy, management and regulatory structure that is based on and responsive to improved scientific knowledge.
To address urgent local and global issues of growth and environmental change, the Biscayne Bay Partnership Initiative has recommended these actions:
* Management of Biscayne Bay must be based on a dynamic research, policy, management and regulatory structure that incorporates the newest scientific knowledge and is capable of responding to long-term sources of stress such as population growth, sea level rise, and water and sediment quality. More about Bay management.
* Using U.S. government and UN predictions of future sea level rise, it is essential to assess the anticipated changes likely to occur to Biscayne Bay, its margins, circulation, freshwater inflow and habitats in response to global warming over the next 50 to 100 years. Resulting models of the future Biscayne Bay should be incorporated in all decisions about management, policy, remediation and economic issues.
* The South Florida community should support greenhouse gas reduction plans locally, globally and statewide. Alternative energy sources should be pursued.
* Proactive growth management strategies should be developed in response to projected increases in human population growth in the Biscayne Bay watershed.