Florida’s marshes, mangroves and other natural features can help protect the state from climate change
WASHINGTON (March 2, 2023) –– Today, Florida TaxWatch and the R Street Institute released a new report that examines Florida’s “natural infrastructure” as a tool to mitigate the effects of climate change in a less costly and more sustainable way.
Natural infrastructure refers to natural features such as wetlands, marshes, mangroves and coral reefs. These features can reduce the risk from flooding, storms or other extreme weather events. In fact, a mere 15 feet of marsh can absorb as much as half of the energy of incoming waves.
Florida’s environment is diverse and beautiful, but it is also vulnerable to extreme weather, such as flooding and hurricanes. Many of these weather patterns are becoming more severe due to climate change, and protecting the state from severe events is a huge and costly undertaking.
So, in deciding how to address this challenge, Florida should consider every option available—including using the “natural infrastructure” already present. While not appropriate in every case, the state needs to consider natural infrastructure solutions as an option in planning and implementing mitigation projects.
In the report, the authors note, “Natural infrastructure is not a panacea but should be considered as a potentially less costly and more beneficial option than traditionally engineered flood or storm mitigation measures.”
This report is part of a series published in partnership with Florida TaxWatch. Part one addressed the challenge of maintaining water quality in Florida as climate change continues to threaten the state. Part two examined the causes of the Florida insurance market crisis and proposed solutions to stabilize the market.
As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog for over forty years, Florida TaxWatch works to improve the productivity and accountability of Florida government. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on residents and businesses.
The R Street Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public policy research organization. Our mission is to engage in policy research and outreach to promote free markets and limited, effective government.