Gulf of Mexico
Everglades National Park has the biggest protected mangrove forest in the Western Hemisphere as well as the continent's most extensive stand of sawgrass prairie. (travel-visit-places.com/nps.gov/natchez-trace.thefuntimesguide.com)

FL - Florida’s coastal wetlands are our best hurricane protection

While climate change did not create damaging weather and wildfires, it has demonstrably made them more extreme and punishing. There is a credible foreboding among many Floridians as we continue through the 2021 hurricane season.

Since 1851, 120 hurricanes — more than 41% of the hurricanes that have hit the U.S. — made some sort of landfall in Florida.

Today, as climate change advances, the Earth has heated up and is producing rising sea levels and warmer oceans. During the past 20 years, that has triggered even more severe and frequent storms.

The coastal communities in southeast Florida that have grown among the wetlands and barrier islands that can buffer against storm damages are facing serious questions about how to address the storms.

Do they build massive seawalls to protect our infrastructure? Do they give up on coastal location and retreat inland? One solution floated in June by the Army Corps of Engineers was to build a giant seawall running through Biscayne Bay and parts of Miami-Dade County. Recently, the county commission said it would not support the wall.

Recently a new study revealed more expansively than ever the promise of nature itself — healthy coastal wetlands — to avoid damages and save lives. The accuracy of the study’s findings takes advantage of state-of-the-art storm tracking, enhanced global land use mapping and global damage assessment databases, along with improved computational capabilities.

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Read also Coastal Wetlands Are Nature's 'Free' Solution to Storm-driven Flooding  HowStuffWorks

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