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State Climate Action


State Climate Stories

Even with swift and ambitious mitigation, communities will still need to prepare for and adapt to the challenges and climate impacts that already exist and will continue to worsen. Many of these changes directly affect coastal communities and Indigenous peoples who rely on the coasts and ocean. Preparing for and adapting to these changes will take commitment and resources, and the sooner preparation begins, the less costly it will be overall.

Addressing sea level rise, storm surge, flooding and erosion; adapting fisheries management to be climate ready; and ensuring ecosystem protection to improve resilience are all steps that state governments can take to prepare for the imminent changes caused by a warming planet. Many adaptation strategies are considered “no regrets” actions because they create multiple co-benefits, such as protecting or restoring biodiversity and species abundance, added green spaces and protection of cultural resources, water quality improvements and carbon storage/sequestration benefits.

The State Stories below highlight states that have taken ambitious actions to strengthen and build their adaptative capacity and resilience to the changes that are already being experienced and to prepare for changes to come. By highlighting their successes, lessons learned and important takeaways, these states can provide meaningful insights and serve as inspiration for others, coastal and inland, seeking to adapt and build resilience to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

Miami-Dade, Florida—Flood Control & Water Management

Lying at almost sea level and already experiencing more frequent storms, the State of Florida’s Miami-Dade County is increasingly susceptible to sea level rise impacts and extreme flood events. In 2000 the Federal Emergency Management Agency recognized the need to build canals to help protect the county from reoccurring flood risks. The Miami-Dade Flood Control Project, also known as the C-4 Basin Project, was created to address the county’s extensive flooding problem. The city constructed a 620-mile series of crisscrossing canals and waterways to relocate excess water from one area to another so that it could be absorbed into the groundwater or held in reserve, rather than inundate coastal communities. At the mouth of the canal there is a pump station designed to push water downstream against the tide, and another canal and basin that offset the flow from the lower canal and prevent flooding from occurring upriver. If the canals reach maximum capacity and cannot handle the full volume of water, there is an emergency detention basin that receives and stores the excess water in two large reservoirs to prevent flooding. This canal-pump-basin system can handle more than a billion gallons of water and provides flood protection to over 600 thousand residents. 1

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina struck Miami-Dade and the county was able to see if their investments had paid off—they experienced extreme rainfall, but no flooding. In 2020 Miami-Dade was pounded by a storm that dropped half a foot of rain in just two hours, causing the canals’ water levels to rise by a foot and prompting the South Florida Water Management District to start pumping into the emergency drainage basin. The basin was as full as it had ever been, but again, no flooding occurred. The Flood Control Project has noticeably reduced serious flooding, resulting in fewer insurance claims, fewer damages and repair costs, and increased public safety. The success of the C-4 basin project has influenced plans to construct similar systems in some of Miami-Dade’s other basins and canals.

Although it saved money in the long run, the Miami-Dade Flood Control Project was a significant investment with total costs amounting to $70 million. This adaptation project was primarily funded through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which funds up to 75% of the eligible costs of a project that reduces or eliminates damages from future natural hazard events. The remaining 25% was funded by the South Florida Water Management District, Miami-Dade County and through awards provided by the county sponsored Quality Neighborhood Improvement Program.2 The South Florida Water Management District is the state agency responsible for implementing the projects, managing flood control and protecting water resources.

Key Takeaways:

This project capitalized on the available Federal funding programs and worked collaboratively across federal, state and local government to ensure successful implementation. This project was technical, expensive and required local buy-in from the affected communities for support. This project is an important example of advanced water management and unique flood control options for states that have densely built infrastructure and do not have enough space to implement green infrastructure solutions or managed retreat opportunities.

1 Miami-Dade County, Local Mitigation Strategy. “Whole Community Hazard Mitigation Part 6: Completed Projects”. July 2020. Pp 43-45.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. 2021. “The C-4 Project: Moving Water to Prevent Flooding”. Accessed October 2022.

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