In January 2021, The United States Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”) proposed a plan to address the increasing risk of storm surges and a sea level rise in Biscayne Bay and the Miami downtown area, both of which are in close proximity to Swire Properties’ Brickell City Centre development. While the proposal met the engineering criteria, the solution risked compromising the functionality and future appearance of the waterfront.

Swire Properties engaged an engineering firm to research, design and propose a hybrid and more natural long-term environmental solution to preserve Miami’s urban coastline. Formally presented in February 2021, the plan envisions a series of barriers to dissipate wave energy including a combination of submerged oyster reefs and flood protection earthen berms in the Bay. This plan, which also meets engineering criteria, has provided a platform for municipalities to discuss viable nature-based solutions as an alternative to physical barriers against flooding.

The benefits of this plan include having both a functional and aesthetic appeal; being built to tackle extreme weather events of the next 30 to 50 years – as sea levels rise, governments can add additional layers to the barriers; being cost effective due to its high adaptability; and having multiple interventions, which is better from a risk perspective.

Taking the proposed solution into consideration, Miami-Dade County rejected the current flood wall plan, meaning the USACE and the County will now work with communities to develop a locally preferred plan that will include nature-based solutions to enhance climate resilience.