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As residents in a handful of coastal communities — including Dania Beach and Oakland Park — anxiously waited for floodwaters to drain out of their neighborhoods and roads, the opposite was happening. A few critical canals designed to move water east were overflowing, spilling into streets, parks and yards. The multi-day rain event coincided with a king tide, one of the highest tides of the year. That high tide effectively backed up the canals South Florida relies on to drain water to rivers, bays and the Atlantic Ocean. They’re largely the same canals dug hundreds of years ago to drain the Everglades and open what were once wetlands to sprawling development.


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Living shorelines are softer, greener alternatives to stabilize shorelines from erosion, sea level rise, and other damage. They protect, restore, or enhance natural shoreline habitat and maintain coastal processes through the strategic placement of plants, oyster shell, and other structural organic materials. Living shorelines offer many benefits. They:


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Water Filter Faucet
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The water that comes out of your household tap travels through miles of pipes, aquifers, and treatment systems before landing in your glass. One of the easiest ways to boost the quality of that water is by using a water filter, be it under your sink, in your fridge, or on your countertop.

While many people buy water filters simply to improve the taste or appearance of their tap water, filtering your drinking water can also potentially protect you from harmful contaminants. 

The Humble Oyster Goes High Tech


By Patricia Roth

April 16, 2024

Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


What do the humble oyster and high tech 3-D printing have in common?  

Together they can clean up our Fort Lauderdale waterways! 


This was what I learned at a fascinating evening symposium organized by Residents for Resilience,

led by Suzee Bailey, and the Marine Research Hub’s Katherine O Fallon.  It’s called the Blue Economy.


In a fast paced two hour session, Suzee Bailey peppered the guest speakers with questions and asked  for details and examples.  And the speakers didn’t disappoint.  We heard about Dr. Keith Van de Riet’s Living Seawall panels,  which create artificial reefs.  These Marine Friendly additions called, "Mangrove Reef Walls” are  made with openings where fish and other marine life can thrive.  It’s like having a coral reef in your own back yard, under your existing sea wall, or along your canal.   And this was followed by Oyster Institute’s David Punchard, who explained how we could enhance these sea wall additions even further by adding oysters, and other marine friendly additions, to help filter the water.  Who knew that one lonely oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day!

Another remediation option mentioned was Biochar sleeves or buoys.  Yes, biochar, like the carbon filters you have in your refrigerator!  Can you believe for around $50 a buoy or sleeve, you will be able to add one on to your dock and the filtering begins.  Discussions are now on the table for permitting which is needed before any additions go in to our waterways to prevent any type of contamination, as another panelist, Linda Sunderland, Environmental Program Supervisor, Broward County Environmental Permitting, stated.  SEE PICTURES BELOW.

But it wasn’t all theory and pie in the sky.   There are a number of proposed projects underway right now.  One is an Educational Waterway Quality Floating Research Lab to begin gathering the much needed data to encourage our city, local business and our residents to be open to adding these living enhancements to their docks and seawalls.  This group is hoping that their informative data wil also ease the permitting process to eliminate any roadblocks, for an easy installation process.  They plan to share their information with the public and neighboring cities, stay tuned!


As a local resident who thinks twice about paddleboarding in our canals, this timely symposium and the projects actually underway right here in Fort Lauderdale give me hope.  There are practical solutions out there.  Scientists working to are gather data.  The answers don’t have to be horrendously expensive or complicated.  And, best of all, if we act now we can actually have a positive impact on our City’s waterways!  

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By Tricia Halliday
R4R Executive Director

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The City of Ft. Lauderdale invited the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to analyze flood prone City roads and recommend criteria for a policy to determine which roads to elevate and how to prioritize and fund the improvements.  Quite a tall order for this group of panelists and staff!

Who is the ULI?  The Urban Land Institute is a 75 year old organization that provides independent, unbiased recommendations (Advisory Services) from outside the community.  The panelists from all over the US, volunteered their time - in this case, 4 days, to listen and learn, then offer their proposed solutions.  During their 4 days, this esteemed group held a listening meeting at MODS, toured our local neighborhoods with City Staff, held Stake-Holder interviews, then presented their findings at another public meeting held at the Mizell Community Center.

Our R4R Founder, Suzee Bailey was invited to participate in the “Stakeholder” listening session, sharing many of our residents concerns and questions. She stressed the need for options from flood mitigation experts, which will be needed as homes, neighborhoods and communities will strive to become more resilient, (which hopefully may help mitigate the insurance crisis).  Presentation sessions can be viewed on our website.  We will provide you with a link to the ULI’s written report which should be posted on the City’s website soon.

During their presentation, the ULI took a broader view to the task at hand.  Before elevating roads, they stressed we need to address the compounding risks - Rising Seas and King Tides.  Resilience is THE guiding approach, and protecting people with the highest risk in neglected areas needs to be included on the Top Priority List!

Raising the roads is only one of the tools in the toolbox and most likely the one of last resort, since adjusting adjacent lower elevated properties to heightened roads can present a very costly and difficult solution for all parties involved.

The City has and is currently working on updating stormwater drains, raising seawalls, installing tidal valves and pumps which are also some of the important tools in that box.  Antiquated infrastructure and utilities also need to be considered before addressing road elevation, especially with the rising watertable and salt water intrusion.

Most importantly, the ULI discussed the need for strong regional collaboration and cooperation and suggested Fort Lauderdale work with Broward County, which has been actively addressing these alarming flooding issues, (see below).  The ULI also stressed the importance of public outreach, so that residents receive the most up-to-date data to aid in important decisions that may have to be made as we all adjust to this ever changing climate.

We look forward to the written report and how our elected officials respond.

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Wetlands Protection

Broward Resilience on the World Stage​

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