Oyster reef habitat has disappeared from much of the Gulf Coast. These reefs absorb wave energy, protecting shorelines from erosion and providing habitat for a variety of wildlife. The Nature Conservancy in Alabama conducted a project to restore this habitat to two tracts of shoreline in Mobile County. This 2009-2012 project created jobs and stabilized currently eroding shorelines, which are threatened by rising sea levels and storm surge.
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Through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program, the Tampa Bay Estuary Program (TBEP) and Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (CBBEP) are working together to create a handbook to identify strategies that incorporate resilience to climate change as a component of habitat restoration and protection.
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.
The Grasses in Classes program is one of the “Climate Steward” examples provided in the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Climate Change, Wildlife, and Wildlands Toolkit for Formal and Informal Educators. Students cultivated and planted native grasses at restoration sites along Alabama’s Gulf of Mexico coast. This pilot project has also been instituted in classrooms in Tampa Bay (Florida) and Chesapeake Bay (Maryland).
Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program (APNEP) was one of six pilot programs to receive a technical assistance award in 2008 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program. Seven public listening sessions were held in 2008 to discuss the combined impacts of sea level rise and population growth to the region; in addition, APNEP is working to develop an adaptation communication strategy for local decision makers.
The Miami-Dade Climate Change Advisory Task Force (CCATF) was created in 2006 to review climate change impacts and advise the Board of County Commissioners on priority mitigation and adaptation actions to respond to these impacts. The CCATF is made up of 25 members and seven committees representing different sectors, which are appointed by the Mayor, Commissioners, and County Manager. The seven committees include over 150 members that review specific climate change adaptation and mitigation priorities that address the built environment, economy, and natural systems.
The Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP) conducted a regionwide vulnerability assessment and developed an adaptation plan for the City of Punta Gorda, Florida over a two year period, and is now working to develop a set of climate change indicators and a monitoring plan.
This pilot project was designed to gather information to support adaptation policy development in Mexico. The project uses representative coastal wetland areas and associated inland basins to study biological function and biodiversity, the roles of these wetlands to the community’s water supply, and the environmental function to climate change impacts, especially increased temperatures, droughts, and sea level rise. The results of the project will help educate Mexico on the value of these wetlands and help guide policy recommendations on climate change adaptation for the coastal area.
The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) developed a statewide coastal restoration and hurricane protection plan in 2007. To assess implementation strategies at the local level, Terrebonne Parish hired a consultant to produce a report that scaled state-level recommendations to community-level actions and priorities. The final report, the Comprehensive Plan for Coastal Restoration in Terrebonne Parish, was released in 2009.
Florida’s Energy and Climate Commission is composed of nine commissioners. Florida’s Governor appoints seven members and the remaining two are appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture Service and the Chief Financial Officer. The Commission is responsible for overseeing the implementation of Florida’s Energy and Climate Action Plan, which was submitted to Florida Governor Charlie Crist on October 15, 2008.