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Implementation Strategy

Implementation Strategy

While the county has already put in place several policies and programs to improve sustainability and adapt to climate change and sea level rise, the GreenKeys! recommendations exceed the scale of existing efforts.  An implementation matrix shows several strategies that can be used to implement the recommendations. These include securing additional funding as well as integrating the recommendations with county planning processes, ordinances, policies, and regulations.

Integration with Capital Planning

implementation-4Monroe County

Capital projects maintain infrastructure or acquire capital assets to accommodate future growth. They  include construction and rehabilitation of public buildings, major street improvements, parks and recreation projects, and maintenance and acquisition of fleet vehicles.

The county describes  its capital improvements in its Capital Projects Plan, which lists each proposed project, the year in which it will be started, and the proposed method of financing it. For Fiscal Year 2016, the County has allocated $115,204,597 for capital improvements.

Guidance for New Capital Project Plan

  • For the Monroe County Animal Shelter in Key West, which shows access concerns and first floor flooding under the 2060 scenario, consider potential relocation to a more elevated site as part of any future plans to renovate the Animal Shelter facilities.
  • For the Marathon electric substation, which shows vulnerability to an extreme storm surge by 2060 under a high sea level rise scenario, coordinate with Florida Keys Electric Cooperative Association to determine true risk exposure and alternatives to reduce that risk.
  • For the Roth Building (50 High Point Road), Radio Transmission Shop (88770 U.S. Highway 1) and County Offices (MM 88.5, U.S. Highway 1), which show potential risk to an extreme flooding event by 2060, take into account both the rate of sea level rise over the next two decades and the overall lifecycle of the buildings in making flood adaptation decisions to reduce risk.
  • For Clarence Higgs Beach, which shows risk of current or future flooding from a Hurricane Wilma-sized event, incorporate appropriate hazard mitigation design features into any retrofits or upgrade projects.
  • For East Martello Tower, which shows risk of current or future flooding from a Wilma-sized event, consider flood adaptation measures (more mid to long-term because of fort construction and historic nature).
  • For the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Freeman substation structure on Cudjoe Key, which shows moderate risk, develop adaptation strategies as a likely priority for flood mitigation and emergency preparedness.

Assessments and Investigations

Site-level assessments and investigations are recommended to ensure that the county makes capital planning decisions based on facility-specific information, including:

  • Develop site level assessments that characterize resistance of above ground structures and associated electrical components to damage from extreme event flooding.
  • Create detailed site investigations to better resolve the extreme event flood risks of all critical infrastructure within defined special flood hazard areas.
  • Enhance monitoring of county buildings and create a database for flood risk to detect potential access and structural issues associated with increased tidal flooding exposure.
  • Conduct site-specific analyses of particularly vulnerable wastewater infrastructure that include survey quality elevation data of sensitive components and engineering assessments of potential floodwaters to determine the present and future vulnerability to extreme flood events.
  • Develop and maintain recording protocols and, as necessary, engineering assessments to evaluate resilience of below-grade pipes and pump infrastructure to increased saltwater incursion associated with sea level rise (coordinate with FKAA).
  • Supply Monroe County’s Floodplain Coordinators with site-level assessments that characterize vulnerability of above-ground structures and associated electrical components to damages from extreme event flooding, consistent with EPA audit guidance.
  • Consider flood risks not only at the site of wastewater treatment facilities themselves, but also consider associated changes in the resident population and economic activity of wastewater service areas.
  • As needed, develop recording protocols and or engineering assessments to further address resilience of infrastructure for the most vulnerable facilities.

implementation-4Other Capital Planning

In addition to Monroe County’s capital planning, other agencies have relevant jurisdiction over county assets.

For example, the Florida Department of Transportation manages several key public roadways, most significantly U.S. Highway 1—the sole road transport and emergency evacuation route in the Florida Keys portion of Monroe County.  As sea levels rise, flooding from tidal fluctuations will become more extensive, causing longer transportation disruptions and damage. During major storm events and other  emergency situations, flooding could block low-lying sections of U.S. Highway 1 and would therefore jeopardize public health, safety, and welfare for county residents and visitors.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Transportation Program

The FDOT plans maintenance activities in the State Transportation Five-Year Work Program (Transportation Program). It is developed through extensive coordination with local and regional governments and planning groups.  For Monroe County,  FDOT submits the final draft of the program to the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).   This enables the BOCC to influence the program to ensure consistency with GreenKeys! initiatives.

The following Monroe County projects are listed in the Tentative Transportation Program Fiscal Years 2016/2017 thru 2020/2021.

FDOT Transportation Plan

The Florida Transportation Plan establishes long-range goals for federal and state transportation projects.  FDOT is currently updating the plan.  Given the importance of U.S. Highway 1, the county should work with FDOT to ensure consistency with the county’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change and sea level rise.

implementation-7Integration with Comprehensive Plan & Code Recommendations

GreenKeys! recommendations can be implemented by integrating them with the county’s Comprehensive Plan and the Code of Ordinances.

The Comprehensive Plan can incorporate recommendations for sea-level rise and resilience in several ways:

  • Create core values around community safety and the need to plan for future threats.
  • Include sea level rise and natural hazards data in background information, making sure to specifically call out impacts already experienced by the county, as well as future flood threats.
  • Encourage the use of best practices for development and engineering solutions that result in removal of coastal property from FEMA-designated flood zones.
  • Identify site development techniques and best practices for reducing losses due to flooding.
  • Be consistent with, or more stringent than, the flood-resistant construction requirements in the Florida Building Code and floodplain management regulations.

Similarly, changes to the Code of Ordinances should be adopted in accordance with the recommendations and timeline in the[GreenKeys! Implementation Matrix].  Comprehensive Plan and code revisions can likely be implemented with existing staff resources or additional outside resources if needed.

implementation-6-copyIntegration with Community Rating System

Implementing the recommendations of GreenKeys! will help the County meet several self-initiated goals, including certification by the STAR Community Rating System (CRS).  The CRS program compliments many of the recommendations provided in GreenKeys!, including managing development in areas that are vulnerable to flooding and preserving areas of the natural floodplain.

Monroe County is currently applying to the STAR CRS for its first formal rating. Communities can receive credit for activities that increase public safety, reduce property damage, avoid economic disruption and loss, and protect the environment.  It includes factors that affect flood risk such as:   impervious surfaces in developing watersheds, beach nourishment projects, new fill in floodways, rising sea levels ,and changes in natural functions of floodplains.

While Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) do not consider these future impacts, CRS incentivizes their consideration in the following ways:

  • providing information about areas (not mapped on the FIRM) that are predicted to be susceptible to flooding in the future because of climate change or sea level rise
  • demonstrating that a community has programs that minimize increases in future flooding
  • using regulatory flood elevations in the V and coastal A Zones that reflect future conditions, including sea level rise
  • advising prospective buyers of the potential for flooding due to climate changes and/or sea level rise
  • basing the community’s regulatory map on future-conditions hydrology, including sea level rise
  • regulating stormwater runoff for future development
  • managing future peak flows so that they do not exceed present values in the watershed master plan manages
  • address areas likely to flood and flood problems that are likely to get worse in the future, including (1) changes in floodplain development and demographics, (2) development in the watershed, and (3) climate change or sea level rise

implementation-3Funding Opportunities

The fundamental issue for any government responsible for strengthening its infrastructure is the anticipated costs and how to fund them. Construction costs for meeting resilience goals are by far the most significant costs for a government.

However, the costs of infrastructure improvements have to be weighed against the probable costs of future property damage and disruptions to the economy. Science is beginning to establish the link between consistently rising seas and the likelihood of increasing severity of storm surges.  Monroe County should therefore weigh these types of potential cost comparisons.

To address funding needs, the GreenKeys! team identified several new funding sources including:

  • pre-disaster mitigation planning funds
  • impact fees
  • special revenue funds
  • landscape mitigation fees
  • stormwater utility enterprise funds
  • special assessments
  • grants

implementation-5Monitoring, Reporting and Updates

To ensure that the GreenKeys! planning project is successful, implementation progress should be monitored annually to assess progress.  Monitoring and progress updates should occur before, or in conjunction with, the capital planning process.  This will give county staff an opportunity to determine current implementation priorities and resource allocation, present updates on efforts initiated during the previous year, and report on the progress of larger scale initiatives.

Another helpful practice is using trigger points to ensure that recommendations are implemented appropriately, especially for medium- and long-term recommendations.  Trigger points are monitoring thresholds used to avoid environmental or socioeconomic tipping points, where the impacts become so severe that they are irreversible.

Trigger points can be used to initiate proactive policy changes at the onset of a problem or in some instances avoid problems entirely.  This is especially important since many of the adaptation actions recommended in GreenKeys! address problems associated with the projected rapid sea level rise, not the current slower rate of change.

Implementation Strategy