TNC and The City of Miami Use Nature to Protect Morningside Park
Improving resilience to sea level rise and extreme weather while enhancing greenspace along the vulnerable coastline of Miami's waterfront.
Project funded with support from the Chubb Charitable Foundation.
TNC, the world’s largest conservation organization, and The City of Miami officially announce a collaboration to restore the City’s historic Morningside Park waterfront—the Morningside Park Resilient Shoreline Project—an effort that will enhance and strengthen nature to reduce flood risk for the park and surrounding community along Biscayne Bay.
With the support of the Chubb Charitable Foundation, TNC is partnering with the City of Miami to design the restoration of the Park’s vulnerable shoreline. TNC scientists completed a thorough analysis using sophisticated storm modeling tools for several project locations along Biscayne Bay, before determining Morningside Park had the greatest potential for flood risk reduction and cost benefit using nature based solutions.
TNC’s focus on enhancing and restoring natural features—green infrastructure—along the Park’s shoreline will bolster the City’s overall plan to make the park resilient to current and future threats of climate change, including sea level rise and extreme weather conditions.
The Miami-focused collaboration between TNC and the Chubb Charitable Foundation began in November 2018 with a $1 million grant from the Foundation, dedicated to implementing natural solutions to reduce risk from coastal hazards. With populations continuing to expand in cities along Florida’s shoreline, proper planning with nature and protection of natural systems along our coasts has become even more critical. Miami ranks as the U.S. metropolitan area with the highest number of homes threatened by storm surge, as noted in a 2020 Corelogic Storm Surge Report, and the insured value of property on the Florida coast is approximately $2.9 trillion, according to AIR Worldwide.
For nearly 70 years, Morningside Park has served as a connection to nature and recreation for residents from across Miami, as well as a critical component for flood protection to the surrounding community. The historic Park has seen continual impacts from king tides and storm surge, resulting in shoreline erosion, periodic flooding and occasional field closures. Morningside also faces challenges due to the limitations of its original storm water system. The Resilient Shoreline Project will compliment broader restoration work planned by the City of Miami to address these issues, while strengthening the park’s natural systems to provide resilience to climate change and enhance the beauty and benefits of the park to the community.
Potential project restoration plans will maximize use of natural solutions including strategically planting mangroves and native vegetation to reduce erosion, adding a vegetated berm to decrease flood risk to the park and surrounding community, and expanding the intertidal zone with green/gray infrastructure to reduce wave energy and provide estuarine habitat. By enhancing natural elements along the water’s edge and throughout the park, the project will also provide a healthy habitat for wildlife and improve water quality in the Bay.
“The City of Miami is fully engaged in the critical work of becoming a more resilient community and adapting to our changing climate,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. “We welcome our new partnership with The Nature Conservancy – with the funding support of the Chubb Charitable Foundation – and we look forward to bringing nature-based solutions to the waterfront at Morningside Park. Our hope is that this project will both safeguard our coastline and become a prototype for future green infrastructure solutions in Miami.”
“As a property and casualty insurer, Chubb recognizes that mitigating the growing threat of climate change requires action from government, the private sector and society-at-large. Through Chubb’s collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, we can help make a difference not only in this resilience project with the City of Miami, but gain practically tested insights that can be replicated around the world in other coastal cities vulnerable to climate change,” said Lori Dunstan, Executive Director, Chubb Charitable Foundation.
"Morningside Park has provided generations of Miami residents with access to our beloved, but vulnerable, Biscayne Bay. I am proud to work with The Nature Conservancy to support new initiatives like the Resilient Shoreline Project that will protect my constituents living around Morningside Park from coastal flooding. By implementing a hybrid of smart engineering and natural defenses—like marshes, mangroves and coral reefs—we can fortify the coastline so that future generations can continue to enjoy this vital section of our city's shores," said City of Miami District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell.
The local community will have the opportunity to provide suggestions and engage in the degin planning process, so that resident and park user needs are incorporated as the project plans are developed and finalized. Volunteer and hands-on community events will support restoration (as COVID restrictions allow).
Throughout Florida and globally, TNC works to protect people and economies with nature, and helps them adapt to the threats of a changing climate using natural solutions. TNC utilizes science, innovation and expertise to address urgent issues and achieve the greatest impact. TNC has recently coauthored studies that affirm the value of natural solutions in Florida and beyond including the reports, “Valuing The Flood Risk Reduction Benefits of Florida’s Mangroves” and “Rigorously Valuing the Role of U.S. Coral Reefs in Coastal Hazard Risk Reduction,” which point to billions of dollars in property losses prevented and infrastructure protected by nature.
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About the Chubb Charitable Foundation
The Chubb Charitable Foundation supports U.S.-based non-profit organizations through grant-making and projects aligned with defined focus areas including education, the environment, and poverty and health. The Foundation believes that meaningful contributions that support our communities globally provide lasting benefits to society, to Chubb and to Chubb employees. Through philanthropy, global partnerships and company sponsored-volunteer activities focused on giving the gift of time and donations, the Chubb Charitable Foundation supports clearly defined projects that solve problems with measurable and sustainable outcomes, helping people in the countries where we live and work build productive and healthy lives. Our commitment to assist those less fortunate and to be stewards of the planet is focused on the areas of education, poverty and health, and the environment.
Chubb is the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company. With operations in 54 countries and territories, Chubb provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to a diverse group of clients. As an underwriting company, we assess, assume and manage risk with insight and discipline. We service and pay our claims fairly and promptly. The company is also defined by its extensive product and service offerings, broad distribution capabilities, exceptional financial strength and local operations globally. Parent company Chubb Limited is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: CB) and is a component of the S&P 500 index. Chubb maintains executive offices in Zurich, New York, London, Paris and other locations, and employs approximately 33,000 people worldwide. Additional information can be found at: www.chubb.com.
About the City of Miami
The City of Miami is the dynamic municipality at the heart of Miami-Dade County, home to Greater Miami’s financial and cultural heart, and economic engines such as PortMiami. Established in 1896, Miami has grown to become South Florida’s largest city by population and serves as the county seat. Today, the City of Miami proudly continues to provide core municipal services to its diverse population, from public safety to parks, as well as forward-looking initiatives like climate resilience. To learn more, visit www.miamigov.com.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries and territories: 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.