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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Punta Gorda Adaptation Plan

The City of Punta Gorda, Florida has prepared a climate change adaptation plan in partnership with a range of federal, state and local organisations which combines impact and vulnerability assessment with adaptation planning and prioritisation through public participation.

The report identifies eight key vulnerabilities arising from climate change:
  1. Fish and Wildlife Habitat Degradation;
  2. Inadequate Water Supply;
  3. Flooding;
  4. Unchecked or Unmanaged Growth;
  5. Water Quality Degradation;
  6. Education and Economy and Lack of Funds;
  7. Fire; and
  8. Availability of insurance

Adaptation options were identified and prioritised through a public workshop resulting
104 acceptable and 34 unacceptable recommended adaptations across the different vulnerabilities. From this exercise, the report identifies a short list of the most acceptable adaptations that included the following:

  1. Seagrass protection and restoration;
  2. Xeriscaping and native plant landscaping;
  3. Explicitly indicating in the comprehensive plan which areas will retain natural shorelines;
  4. Constraining locations for certain high risk infrastructure;
  5. Restrict fertilizer use; and
  6. Promote green building alternatives through education, taxing incentives, green lending.
  7. Drought preparedness planning.

Nevertheless, one can't help but wonder what the implications are of excluding certain adaptation options due to a lack of public support, as it could very well be that a range of adaptation actions are needed to maintain assets valued by society even if society doesn't recognise the importance of those actions. In fact, a closer inspection of the report reveals a range of adaptation actions that are rejected by Punta Gorda which are mainstream responses in other parts of the world.

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