Dealing with the Waves of Population Growth and Sea Level Change

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 a quality Biscayne Bay will be for naught unless the role of these long-term stressors is properly addressed and incorporated. Key components of these influences must be addressed. According to the Miami-Dade County Department of Planning and Zoning, local population is forecast to rise 29 percent by 2020. More people with more demands will put more pressure on the resources of Biscayne Bay. Since 1930 sea level has been rising at a rate of one foot per century, and it is forecast to rise at least an additional two feet by 2100. We can and must assess the effects that these changes will have on the Biscayne Bay system. Furthermore, Biscayne Bay must have an independent and dynamic policy, management, and regulatory structure that is responsive to improved scientific knowledge.

Key Actions

• Management of Biscayne Bay must possess a dynamic research, policy, management, and regulatory structure that is responsive to dynamic long-term stressors such as sea level rise and water and sediment quality, and that incorporates improved scientific knowledge.

• Using United States government and United Nations predictions of future sea level rise, carefully evaluate the resulting changes that will occur to Biscayne Bay, its margins, circulation, freshwater inflow, and habitats in response to global warming over the next 50 to 100 years. Incorporate resulting models of the future Biscayne Bay in all management, policy, economic, and remediation decisions.

• Support greenhouse gas reduction plans locally, globally, and statewide including the development of alternative energy sources.

• Use proactive growth management strategies rather than a reactive approach to the projected increase in human population growth in the watershed.