Jordan Ross

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Spring 2012


Miami Beach is highly developed, ranking in the top three most urbanized barrier islands in the United States (Siffin 1981). As such, the city has a unique opportunity to balance preserving its natural ecosystems with improving the quality of life for its residents and visitors. Stutz and Pilkey (2005) classify Miami Beach as an, “island terminated”. They use a Relative Anthropic Index (RAI) that compares the geomorphology of the island against human pressures and development, and prove that the long-term preservation of the island rests largely on the recovery of natural coastal processes. Miami Beach will benefit from a clear dune management plan to protect one of the only natural ecosystems left on the island. How can a highly urbanized city with minimal funding, and multiple stakeholders balance the needs of science and culture when managing their dune system? The purpose of this paper is to describe how I developed the dune management plan. The paper also answers the questions of why Miami Beach needs a formal dune management plan, how the city can best implement a plan, and to what extent science and culture play in the governance of such a unique coastal ecosystem. Simple policy solutions will help minimize the costs, improve interdepartmental communications, and ensure compliance of federal, state, and local laws. Analysis of effective management plans of other coastal sand dune ecosystems offer ideas, but Miami Beach’s goals for enhancing the dune habitat will have to have creative and innovative solutions to deal with the city’s specific character and threats. A proposed dune management plan is included.


Department: MAF

MPS Track: MCO

Location: City of miami Beach, Environmental Resources Management Division

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