Sea Level Impact LIDAR Map [PDF] (accurate to 4 inches)
Elevation Height (Feet)
Southeast Florida is widely considered one of the more vulnerable areas in the United States to the impacts of sea level rise due to our topography, extensive coastline, and porous limestone bedrock. The region relies heavily on our coastlines for tourism, recreation, development, and protection from hurricanes. The City of Coral Gables recognizes this vulnerability, especially with over 47 miles of coastline and waterways, and is developing short and long-term strategies, that are outlined below, to improve the City’s resilience.
|Mindful of the growing threat posed by sea level rise and the many legal complications that will accompany it, Coral Gables commissioned the drafting of a white paper that lays out a comprehensive overview of various sea level rise adaptation policy options at the City's disposal and details key legal considerations and implications surrounding those various adaptation options, including, for example: financing options available under Florida law, various regulatory and market-based tools available (and municipal liability risks associated with each), the need for updating local governments' comprehensive plans, and even factors to consider in long-term retreat planning. This white paper aligns with the Regional Climate Action plan’s categories of public outreach, sustainable communities and transportation planning, risk reduction and emergency management, and public policy.|
Scope of Work
Coastal wetlands provide essential direct livelihood services to millions of people, as well as critical regulating services such as maintenance of water quality, protection from storms and erosion, and carbon sequestration. Measuring the vertical movement of the coastal wetland surface and its constituent processes, and relative local sea-level rise (SLR) is necessary to determine whether a wetland can keep pace with SLR.
3 monitoring stations have been installed throughout the City waterways as a part of this project, with two of the stations including both tidal and sediment elevation (RSET-MH) monitoring: (1) Inland Coral Gables waterway, (2) coastal Coral Gables waterway, and (3) Matheson Hammock Park/Preserve.
Tidal & Water Level Monitoring
Each of the 4 sampling stations include a pressure gauge (Level Troll with conductivity and pressure sensors) that is installed and referenced to NAVD88 and to RSET benchmarks. Water level data are recorded at 15 minute intervals. Locations for tidal stations include Blue Road and Islands of Cocoplum along the Coral Gables waterway where water surface height near coast and inland, to detect potential differences due to rain and canal discharge between inland and outflow waterway locations, are monitored. Mangrove forest water levels are monitored at each RSET site in Matheson Hammock Park and in Islands of Cocoplum mangrove forest areas (blue stars). As part of tidal station maintenance, pressure transducers are field checked with on-site water level measurements, desiccants checked and replaced as needed, and data downloaded monthly. All 4 stations are set up with a telemetry system to obtain real-time data
Two sediment elevation monitoring sites have been established in mangrove forest areas. From the benchmark pipe, a RSET arm with 9 vertical pins is used to measure the height of the soil relative to the referenced benchmark (36 measurements total). SET measurements are conducted every 6 months. Feldspar marker horizons are established to assess vertical change in soil elevation due to deposition of sediments and organic materials.
CREST buoy with autosampler at the Blue Road sampling site
What is Sea Level Rise?
As the temperature of the earth changes, so does sea level. Temperature and sea level are linked for two main reasons:
What are Its Effects?
Changing sea levels can affect human activities in coastal areas by
Source: Environmental Protection Agency
Global sea level has risen about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating. Rising seas dramatically increase the odds of damaging floods from storm surges. One analysis finds the odds of “century” or worse floods occurring by 2030 are on track to double or more, over widespread areas of the U.S. Across the country, nearly 5 million people live in 2.6 million homes at less than 4 feet above high tide — a level lower than the century flood line for most locations analyzed.
Actions the City of Coral Gables is Taking to Minimize the Effects of Sea Level Rise
Recap of the Coral Gables 3-Part Sea Level Rise Discussion Series
During the 3-part discussion series attendees were able to learn from experts about the potential impacts of sea level rise in the community, review potential adaptation and mitigation strategies, and discuss public policy implications of sustainable development, and much more! The discussion series was organized in partnership between Coral Gables Commissioner Patricia Keon and the Florida International University Sea Level Rise Solutions Center.
Part 1: Dr. Todd Crowl: The Basics of Sea Level Rise
Part II: Dr. Ryan Stoa: Public Policy Implications
Additional Local Sea Level Rise Conferences and Discussions
Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason Rising Tides Summit
Sea Level Rise Simulation Tools
Resources for Students/Kids