Coastal Defense App highlights protective role of coral reefs and mangroves in S.E. Florida and the Keys

Snook Islands shoreline, 2011©Palm Beach County,

Snook Islands shoreline, 2011©Palm Beach County,

Southeast Florida and the Florida Keys are among the most vulnerable regions in the world when it comes to coastal storms and sea level rise. Fortunately, the region is endowed with natural coastal defenses such as coral reefs, beaches, dunes and mangrove wetlands that help limit erosion and flooding while also providing wildlife habitat and valuable recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike.

Coastal Resilience 2.0 is designed to help communities assess the coastal challenges they face today and explore opportunities to make nature a central part of the response to those now and in the face of future sea level rise. A variety of new features in Coastal Resilience 2.0 focus on Southeast Florida and the Keys.

The most exciting and dynamic addition is an award winning Coastal Defense Application that allows users to explore the wave-breaking power of existing coral reefs and mangroves and how this may change as a result of sea level rise, habitat restoration and habitat creation. Users have control of environmental variables like wave type, storm strength, tidal and sea level heights. They may select where and how to improve reef coral coverage and width of mangrove wetlands. Then the app calculates changes in wave height and wave energy and provides a simple graphic and narrative description of how much better, or worse, things may be under the modelled conditions compared to current conditions.

Other new features for Southeast Florida and the Keys include:

• A “Community Planning” application containing information about the vulnerability of Florida Keys roads and mangrove wetlands to sea level rise derived from an ongoing sustainability and climate change planning project being conducted by Monroe County.
• Maps depicting select Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County natural features, existing coastal protection projects and other considerations such as; flood zones.
• The ability to relate mapped features of interest to the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact’s inundation maps showing one, two and three feet of sea level rise.

With these new tools in hand, The Nature Conservancy will continue to work in partnership with the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, local governments and others to identify and promote natural and nature-based approaches to protecting our vulnerable coastal communities.

To learn more:

• Visit the Florida Project Pages to learn more about Coastal Resilience in Florida
• Review the report “Nature Based Coastal Defenses in Southeast Florida”
• Get more details on How the Coastal Defense App Works