Approach 5: Expand and Protect Green and Blue Spaces

Land use programs and policies in Miami-Dade County that maintain healthy natural resources help address climate change. Miami-Dade County’s land and marine ecosystems can absorb and store carbon dioxide, and can also reduce other types of pollution. 

Coastal habitats absorb carbon at a rate 10 times greater than mature tropical forests. They also store three to five times more carbon per equivalent area than tropical forests. While agriculture does not maintain ecosystems in their natural state, regenerative agricultural practices can be utilized to enhance carbon storage in the soil, and expanding the tree canopy increases shade and cooling, which reduces urban heat.
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  • % tree canopy coverage
  • Surface water pollutant loads
  • Natural habitat acres preserved (wetland and non-wetland)

Goals & Objectives

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Expand community-wide tree canopy to 30% coverage by 2030. [Community Recommendation]

Ensure that all County facilities within the UDB (per 2013 delineation) shall attain an average of at least 30% canopy coverage and all County facilities outside the UDB shall attain an average of at least 50% canopy coverage by 2030

Reduce pollutant loads to surface waters, including Biscayne Bay, to facilitate recovery of seagrasses to historic levels. [Community Recommendation]

Double the total non-wetland acreage of natural habitat in preservation

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Create jobs

Support recreation and tourism

Reduce storm damage

Reduce flooding

Enhance water quality

Enhance air quality Reduce extreme heat

Improve health outcomes

Supply food

Increase biodiversity

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Bold Action

Develop methodologies to assess, track, and regularly report on changes to the amount of acreage and functional quality per ecosystem type in Miami-Dade County, in order to determine successful habitat protection strategies and to more accurately calculate carbon sequestration and storage

Develop a mitigation policy, based on area impacted, to ensure that County-approved development results in a net increase to green infrastructure by the development’s completion date

Prioritize/Require Florida Friendly Landscaping as the default County landscaping technique, including on County-owned or managed golf courses, to save water and reduce fertilizer/nutrient runoff [Community Recommendation]

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Key Facts

Coastal habitats store more carbon per unit area than terrestrial forests.

A single mature and healthy tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 pounds per year and release enough oxygen into the atmosphere to support four human beings.

In the past 200 years, Florida lost an estimated 9.3 million acres of wetlands through drainage and conversion to other uses, the most acreage lost in the continental United States.

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