The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is strongly committed to addressing sea level rise and other climate change impacts, and as such, has named its first District Resiliency Officer, Carolina Maran, Ph.D., P.E. In the new role, Maran is responsible for leading the District’s resilience efforts to support SFWMD’s mission; coordinating scientific data and research needs to ensure the District’s resilience planning and projects are founded on the best available science; and, developing and implementing comprehensive District-wide resiliency goals to mitigate and adapt to the challenges facing the District’s infrastructure and core functions from sea level rise and other climate change impacts.
In her first months working at the district, Dr. Maran has supported technical work already underway to identify and address limitations to manage water resources as a result of observed climate impacts and anticipated future conditions. Examples of these efforts are: implementing a Flood Protection Level of Service Program; exploring options to increase operations efficiency and hardening infrastructure; supporting the development of alternative water supply projects; monitoring the saltwater interface; and collaborating with local, state, Tribal and federal stakeholders, and academia to advance resiliency research and adaptation. In early March, the Governing Board endorsed the USACE request to partner with SFWMD in initiating the Central and Southern Florida Flood Resiliency Study, a significant step in identifying and prioritizing critical infrastructure improvements to reduce flood risks, enhance water management operations, and protect our communities and natural resources. The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact has been a strong advocate for this study and will be engaging in the development of its next steps.