The Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program (IRLNEP) received financial and technical assistance in 2009 through the EPA's Climate Ready Estuaries Program. IRLNEP is working with the City of Satellite Beach, Florida, to incorporate sea level rise projections and policies into the city's Comprehensive Growth Management Plan. The three components of the project are a vulnerability assessment, public outreach, and policy development. This project will educate local stakeholders and decision makers, formulate an adaptation plan, and inform similar efforts in other parts of the lagoon and similar areas throughout the United States.
The primary climate change impact of concern to Indian River Lagoon and the City of Satellite Beach is sea level rise; other effects like loss of habitat, species, and biodiversity, increased invasive and non-native species, and decreased water quality threaten the ecosystem as a consequence of climate change. The IRLNEP is working with the City of Satellite Beach in Brevard County, Florida, to develop an adaptive management plan to enhance the city’s resilience in the face of these impacts. This pilot project has three elements: 1) assessing the area’s vulnerability to sea level rise, 2) communicating the issues and project process with stakeholders and local decision makers, and 3) formulating and implementing the adaptation plan.
Of the three project components – a vulnerability assessment, outreach and education efforts, and an adaptation plan – the first two have already been completed. Modeling under various scenarios, the project partners have estimated the extent of sea level rise impacts and identified vulnerable areas and infrastructure in the city. During public forums, scientists showed one scenario estimating that 5% of the city will be submerged by a +2 foot rise by approximately 2060 and another that showed an additional 20% inundation with +4 foot rise. Through these meetings and a media campaign of press events, press releases, editorial pieces, radio PSAs, and newsletters, the project leads have argued that by implementing an adaptation plan now, the city will be able to take action and make modifications to adapt to challenges in the future; this effort will be more cost effective in the long run.
The next phase of the project is the development of an adaptation plan for the City of Satellite Beach. Meetings will be held to develop goals, objectives, and policies regarding climate change and sea level rise effects that can be included in the city’s comprehensive plan. These recommendations will be presented to the City Council for consideration and implementation as updates to the city’s Comprehensive Growth Management Plan; the goal is to complete this process in 2010. Once complete, the strategies and policies developed will be made available to local governments throughout the lagoon to use in planning efforts.
Gregg, R. M. (2010). Indian River Lagoon and City of Satellite Beach, Florida Adaptation Project [Case study on a project of the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE: http://www.cakex.org/case-studies/indian-river-lagoon-and-city-satellit… (Last updated March 2010)